The Pitch: In July of 2022, j-hope became the first member of BTS to officially release a full-length solo project. Jack in the Box is a wildly compelling album, a surprising, well-balanced, and incredibly creative piece of work that allowed the rapper and dance leader of the biggest pop group on the planet to formally re-introduce himself.
Shortly after the album was released, all eyes were on j-hope when he made history as the first South Korean artist to headline a major music festival. Lollapalooza was thereby dubbed Hobipalooza, and a sea of over 100,000 people packed the lawn of Grant Park, where the artist ran through a set that included cuts from Jack in the Box as well as a handful of tracks from his 2018 mixtape, Hope World, and some favorites from the BTS canon.
It was an athletic and visibly exhausting set, and now you can witness what went into its creation. In a new documentary now available on Disney+ Friday, February 17th, viewers get the chance to see the lead-up that went into the headlining appearance, as well as the creation of the album itself and footage from the listening party where j-hope debuted the album to friends, industry members, and his beloved bandmates.
Let’s Burn: It’s no surprise at this point that BTS are meticulous artists, pouring immense care into the details of stage performances, speaking engagements, and appearances. j-hope IN THE BOX shows us more of the grueling hours burning the midnight oil than any content around the band ever has before, scrolling back over 200 days prior to the festival set to spend time in the long nights in j-hope’s studio, dance rehearsal, stage planning, and styling.
The documentary was directed by Park Jun-Soo, who worked with BTS on the BTS: Permission to Dance on Stage – LA documentary (also on Disney+) and the BTS documentaries Burn the Stage and Break the Silence. 52 days out from the album release, we see j-hope in moments of severe doubt, exhausted after meetings with the staff at HYBE, BTS’s label and management company. “Maybe I bit off more than I can chew,” he worries.
Thinking Outside the Box: Thankfully, we as the viewer already know how things turned out — the answer being spectacularly well — but the most memorable takeaway of the documentary is the work ethic of j-hope as an artist. While his reputation in BTS is that of a highly observant and sometimes strict dance leader, we get to see him in action through extensive rehearsal footage. The dancers who worked to implement even the smallest of notes are braver than me; just one of those laser-focused glances we see as he sweats over the stage details would have plenty of people running for the door.