K-actor Kim Soo Hyun has been getting the highest per episode salary for a K-drama for years now, even before he left for military service in 2017. With that said, it is still shocking to see the actual amount keep going up, and it’s going up for many top actors and actresses as well so call it salary inflation. K-ent is reporting that his salary for Coupang Play streaming drama One Ordinary Day is 500 million won per episode, which is about $430,000 USD per episode. That’s insane. It’s also frustrating that the current co-highest paid K-actresses (Lee Young Ae, Jeon Ji Hyun, and Song Hye Kyo) are currently only at 200 million won per episode so he’s more than doubled them. He got paid 200 million won per episode for It’s Okay to Not be Okay back in 2019 and back then those three K-actresses were still the highest paid and only got 100 million won per episode. So the actor side increase is exponentially out pacing the ladies. The second highest paid actor salary for a 2021 drama this year is Lee Jung Jae who got 300 million won per episode for Squid Game. In terms of ROI, I think he more than paid for himself and then some for Netflix. K-netizens are mixed feelings on Kim Soo Hyun’s sky high salary, worrying it will hurt him since the expectations will remain sky high that he delivers ratings/return and also that it’s not good for the industry that salaries keep going up and up.
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They all get paid too much so whatever, but I admit, I don’t really get why Kim Soo-hyun gets that much more than everybody else. He’s just alright too me.
Never understood the reason why KSH gets these sky high salaries either. There are literally so many Hallyu stars just as popular and successful as him yet he keeps demanding a higher salary with literally every new project and gets away with it. Even A list movie stars like LJJ are taking a lower salary than him. I doubt even WB (if he ever came back) would demand a salary that high.
Do people here even watch US TV? It is still in the golden age of television, and prestige TV has moved into opting for the miniseries format. HBO and Netflix consistently churn out excellent productions, especially HBO.
I was not even able to finish ep 1 of one ordinary day, not interesting enough, so he got paid so high for a dull drama
Those salaries are a mere fraction of what US actors ate pd. In the long run it is bad, & why US tv is all low cost & quality reality shows.
US tv hasn’t failed because of salaries it’s because they stopped trying. Every other drama is either a reboot or a remake. Their most successful shows are adaptations of fantasy novels or YA novels which they end up distorting to point of non recognition. Once they have a successful show on their hands they milk it till the last drop which kills the plot and exhausts the actors creatively. The reason why Kdramas are successful is because they end within a short time period which allows actors to challenge themselves to many other roles instead of being stuck with one character which doesn’t allow them room for growth.
i don’t even think the high salaries would matter that much if the smaller staff of the production team is paid well but we constantly get reports and news of how production staff are treated awfully with unhealthy working conditions all for barely any money or sometimes they’re not even paid on time while reports of actors’ sky high salaries keep releasing
Considering how much K-content/Kdramas have blown up in the last few years. I’m not against it tbh, given how much more these production houses make compare to their talents. However, more money should also be given to the crew as well. Ju Ji Hoon recently said that despite K-content blowing up, the pay is still the same for cast/crew/PDs.
Squid Game made Netflix billions of $, but none of that money trickled down. Netflix ended up giving 5-figure bonuses to the cast, but that’s chump change compared to how much it earned.
The issue is that k-dramas have just started blowing up globally, so compensation structures have yet to catch up. I’m wondering if actors will start renegotiating their comp structures to incorporate profit-sharing.
As for how crew members get compensated, I don’t know if South Korea has unions, but this is when unions would get involved to renegotiate pay & benefits.
ditto what others said about paying the crew more. I feel like productions should be careful about paying actors that much especially when it means skimping out on other parts of the drama and shoving in as much PPL as possible.
Ordinary day is only 8 episodes, so I guess they can afford to pay him that much per episode. Still that’s a lot of money. Like Game of Thrones money – once it was confirmed to be a hit.
Omg i can believe that sbs paid song hye kyo for 200 million won just to watch her botox face? No wonder she can’t move her face because that will make wrinkle in her jaw.Yikes.
I agree with you that celebrity should lowering their salaries. Also, High salaries limiting the choice of actor project. They might get great high budget drama, But that kind of drama is always adjusting with mainstream tastes, which limiting their range of acting. and PPL will always be there to accomodate the high budget which more often than not distracting the flow of the story.
I wish my fav who has become a star lowering his salaries so he can choose wider range of project.
There is no reason for celebs to lower their salaries. Even Kim Nam Gil gets paid around 200M per episode doesn’t stop him from having a wide selection of dramas and roles that are both critical and commercial success. Higher salaries don’t equal mainstream only dramas. It’s the actors choice that prefers public friendly dramas that can get high ratings.
@Miwak : I don’t Think Kim Nam Gil has wide range of acting and I don’t think he get the best of example celebrity trapped in their high salaries. 200M is still consider not that high compare to hallyu star drama who get paid more than that.
I find many supporting roles is more challenging, than the main roles one too… they enable to become everything, meanwhile the main roles has been become typical and doesn’t always goes out of the box
Eat the rich.
I side eye celebrities that like to publicize their earnings. It just paints a big target on their back, especially when people are getting angrier over the widening income inequality.
Aside from the overseas sales all 3 dramas by the top highest paid actresses have underperformed in both ratings and online buzz. It’s quite possible they’ll all be forced to take pay cuts for their next dramas. I’m surprised SYJ is still getting paid only 100 million won per episode despite the success of CLOY and why at all should she be a lower tier than SHK and JJH of all people? If senior actresses are getting paid so less when even newbie idol turned actors like CEW can easily earn 100 million per episode the wage gap not only among actors-actresses but male and female members of the crew must also be pretty big. This considering the crew is already being paid peanuts to beging with. I also wonder how much star writers and directors get paid.
SYJ’s agency has never disclosed her salary, which is why she never appears on these lists. The best the media can do is estimate her salary. You can bet she made as much as or close to what HB made on CLOY which was a lot. I think HB routinely comes in as #2 or #3 highest paid make actor.
@flowerpot The same article that talked about JJH and SHK salaries specifically mentions SYJ and her salary as well. The original article is on Naver. The agencies don’t have to disclose the salaries I bet the production houses disclose them. Culture Depot was the production house for crash landing and is the home of JJH whose salary was disclosed. @Yukoi The standards of Korea is strange but SYJ has always been lower in rank to JJH and SHK despite her success in film and iconic roles like The Classic and Summer Scent because JJH and SHK are considered Goddess level visuals in addition to their hit roles in Sassy Girl and Autumn in My Heart respectively. This is the reason why JJH has over 20 CFs even today and SHK endorsements are in the high end products category. SYJ also doesn’t media play her image which makes her less visible in public than both JJH and SHK who live very private lives but have an active PR machine.
First of all HB took a pay cut for CLOY just so that SYJ could be paid more and he still earned more than her. He made around 150-70 while she got around 125. This was reported last year too when KSH was paid 200 for IOTNBO. Second it’s fact that SYJ earns much less than JJH and SHK and will always earn less than them no matter how successful her projects are because of the brand value both actresses carry. Wether in the past or the future JJH is the gold standard of legend and SHK is the standard of goddess visuals. They never earned reputation for their acting but for their charisma and beauty. So SYJ fans can make as many arguments as they want but she can never get more prominent or pay than either JJH or SHK. The two actresses basically control the China market which is BIG money. Thirdly these figures are reported by the producers and channels like Studio Dragon, A Story, Studio S etc who make the contract so it’s very accurate since they have the exact figure. OTT money has caused an inflation in salaries recently so whatever figures existed 10 years ago are not relevant since the OTT money for Hallyu stars is pouring in like water. They can demand any salary because they know even if ratings fail the overseas sales will not only make up for it but leave producers with a big margin. Netflix made 50x what it spent on SG even after giving them bonuses. Overseas audience bring in the money while local audience only brings in ratings. Which is why bigger celebs are shifting almost entirely to OTT. Coming back to my point the ranking of actresses will always have JJH and SHK towering over SYJ no matter what happens. The brand value of these two actresses defines an entire generation and specifically because they take long breaks between projects makes them more in demand. Unlike SYJ who works almost nonstop.
@Rove, no sorry that is not true. It was never reported HB took a pay cut for CLOY, or even that it was so SYJ could be paid more. Please provide a link or proof of that because I’ve never read anything of the sort. Like I said there seems to be lots of unverified stories floating around and they don’t have any credibility.
@rove big money China market doesn’t mean as much as it did before thaad happened. now they are just foreign investors, not really targeting their own homebase anymore with jdramas, they just look to make profit of it on international market outside china. they have their own burgeoning industry to profiteer from now
@Riv, back in 2006, SYJ was noted as being the highest paid actress when she received 50 billion won per episode for her drama Alone in Love. It was widely reported at the time- here is a link:
Since then I’ve seen very inconsistent figures regarding her salary, including CLOY which makes me wonder how credible those numbers are.
yeah none of these numbers are credible tbh. I remember a variety show trying to cast actors for their movie project and calling up managers of actors they are friends with and the managers would always keep a tight lip when asked about the fees on air.
There was an article published last year that discussed the rise of talent fees due to the emergence of more OTT platforms. With more streaming platforms entering the market, more content is needed so this opens up many more opportunities for the actors (both genders). Ones with international draw AND acting skills are most sought after and KSH is one of them. I believe Coupang Play offered a very lucrative amount for him to take the risk with a brand new platform, but the reported amount is pure speculation. The article also mentioned even male actors/idols with little acting experience are getting 100 million won per episode. On the flip side, only the top actresses can command 100 million won or more. Just recently, it was reported Jun Ji Hyun and Song Hye Kyo are the top paid actresses and getting 200 million won per episode.
Coupang didn’t pay him though but the producer of the drama which is his agency.
Coupang Play is the investor that funded the project, much like how Netflix invest in other Korean dramas. His agency is just one of three producers involved in the drama and also getting paid by Coupang. Don’t sound stupid if you don’t know anything. I can read from original sources and not rely on sites this site for news.
The Production company sells the exclusive right to the streaming or broadcasting company and employs all actors. No foolish investors would employ any cast and crew of any productions.
No production company is foolish enough to begin filming without the funding in place. The director, who is also one of the producers, said they were able to produce the quality shown because of the budget given to them by Coupang Play.
You think SYJ gets paid less than those underperforming hallyu stars? When SHK’s current drama is being produced (aka paid for) by her own agency? Wanna take bets it’s all on paper? Lol.
SYJ doesn’t live and die by media play. Her excellent filmography speaks for her. That article just said that SYJ gets paid more than 100M won. It doesn’t say she only gets around 100M won. Like I said media play and they had to include SYJ in it. SMH.
SHK does get paid more and even KSH all his dramas post military are produced by his own agency. Doesn’t mean the numbers aren’t real. You’re only hearing about it because the numbers are real and some industry people are complaining it’s pushing up production cost beyond reasonable means. Even the HP director mentioned how grateful he was that JJS agreed to take a lower salary because he didn’t have the budget to cast him. Actors are getting massive salaries but producers don’t have unlimited money so they have cut costs elsewhere and it’s mostly the crew that ends up getting the shorter end of the stick. Actress are getting only half the salary of actors otherwise it would be impossible to cast two popular actors in one project. One of the reason why Jirisan is as bad as it is because all the money was spent on salaries and very little on anything else. But it’s also true this is the worst script KEH has ever written. SYJ doesn’t media play I agree but that’s also why she gets paid less. Her filmography is excellent but SHK is still SHK despite her inability act or emote her fanbase is much bigger than SYJ and what’s amazing is that over 20 years but SHK fanbase has never shrunk.
How sure are you that SHK’s fanbase is larger than SYJ’s. Have you done an official headcount? Lol. This is an article about Kim Soo Hyun but you just had to make this about YOUR fave again. Typical of SHK stans.
Reality check: With how NWBU is doing, a lot of kdrama fans have began speaking up about her acting ability (or lack thereof). Your fave can take all the money in the entertainment market, but even she herself acknowledges Son Ye Jin, the real actor’s actor. The biggest champ in their line of profession. Know the facts first before you shit on somebody else.
How sure are you that SYJ’s fanbase is smaller than SHK’s? Have you done an official headcount? Lol.
And btw, her fanbase totally shrunk. Lots of them were fans of the songsong ship and packed up when it sank. Oh, and have you seen how much she’s getting dragged lately over her performance in NWBU? Not really into these petty fights but your fandom should really have a taste of your own poison every once in a while.
the numbers is however much his company wants to mediaplay at this point. same as shk. there is never confirmation for these numbers they just float it around. doesn’t make it untrue but it also doesn’t automatically make it true
I think it’s better for SYJ not to disclose her real salary. After all she’s an actor’s actor. She said it herself that salary is not the most important factor in choosing her projects which is precisely why her reputation and ticketing power remains unmatched. Audiences trust that she won’t compromise her work for money. That’s what separates Chungmuro stars from Hallyu stars.
LOL you are so salty when it’s about SHK. I also wonder why do these Internet warriors always so itchy to compare SHK to SYJ? If you believe that SYJ is the best at everything than leave it that way, but doesn’t seem so? To all the SYJ fans, if I think that she is untouchable, I wouldn’t go compare another actress with her. Even if that actress is so untalented in my book. This mean that SHK is the untouchable one that’s why everyone is so insecure about her.
LOL every shk fans always have the same childish mindset that “everybody is jealous of shk everybody is insecure of shk”. Please stop that.. and also what makes you think that shk fans dont compare syj w shk?
@Stitch I’m not SHK fan so whatever you say won’t bother me. I’m just starting what I see so far from this poster Penny. LMAO why do all SYJ stands thinks that whoever make such counteract is a SHK fans. You said her stands all has childish mindset set but what yall don’t see is you all are the same. It’s just so pathetic seeing these two fan worshiper fight and compare both actress together all the times.
SHK is just polarizing, she’s not untouchable. Untouchable would mean she ticks all boxes – popularity, talent, Hallyu and Chungmuro success, big hits, awards, reputation, etc… she barely checks off half of these. But most others don’t hit them all either, although some hit more than others. So no one is untouchable. But if I’m a K actress there are other more impressive careers than hers.
@lolaylist When I said SHK is untouchable doesn’t mean she is topnotch or is an awards winner I did? It’s just for the smart people who think it’s okay to degrade someone’s abilities when they are as blind to see their actions. SHK don’t have to ticks all the boxes you check in order to be topnotch because acting is just based on one’s preference. You may not like her but others do and that’s the same for SYJ. She is so good in the field and hit all the boxes you check but does it mean the whole world agreed that she is the best. No some might not find her untouchable as well. All these comparisons and degrading SHK is funny.
The fact is, many actors chose not to disclosed their salaries. Only few actors do and use it for promotion purposes.
Whilst some disclosed their fees, media speculates salaries of some actors which often times are wrong.
agree. usually media can make a guess about who is highest paid celeb (overall including CF etc) by checking how much tax they pay since that can be publicly checked in some countries.
not sure how it works with taxes in Korea. most of these fee numbers are total speculation and when the numbers are weirdly high compared to others, the production company is usually also be the actor’s agency.
I don’t think it is Kim Soo Hyun’s fault if ever production outfits agree to his per episode salary. Notwithstanding the condition and pay of the production crew, it is rightful that they have a union for that to defend their rights. If these companies have agreed to pay KSH that much from previous years up to his current drama, One Ordinary Day- it means he’s delivering what he’s asked for. I don’t think people will be disappointed in him because as time goes by, he shows so much improvement as an actor. I’m not saying that the other A list K actors are not good enough. Maybe they’re not just aware of their potentials and how they can bargain for that, unlike KSH who’s very honest about how much he wishes to be paid. Let’s just wait and see until the drama’s last episode and how well the ratings are to judge if he’s truly unworthy of that huge salary.
In terms of ratings or popularity of the dramas, I think he is not delivering on that. One Ordinary Day, which I like very much is not even getting the top spot on VIU, beaten by less popular actors. However, he has this image of “a Hallyu star”, the highest-paid actor that sometimes producers are swayed by. look at IONBO Korean ratings– it was not a hit. (Though it did good in Netflix–but Netflix only pays the license fee once, no bonuses if it becomes a hit (unless produced by them like for Squid Game) it does not benefit Korean producers unlike string TV ratings–more advertising. And please do not reason that it is because it is both on Netflix and TVN–because there are shows available on both but still manage to become hits on both. The case with OOD00Netflis offered KSH with a series but CP bit the bullet and offered him more –thinking he is a Hallyu star and it would be a long-term investment. An investment that flopped.
‘One Day’ Coupang Play becomes killer content that attracts new subscribers
Kim Soo-hyun and Cha Seung-won’s ‘One Day’ word of mouth craze… Coupang Play subscribers increased by 254%
“Thank you Kim Soo-hyun”… Coupang Play, new subscribers surge thanks to ‘one day’
The salaries reported in Naver about other actors and actresses who do not media play are mere speculations. If you want a more reliable list of who earns more, look at the Forbes list of Korea’s Power celebrities. Not some paid writers on Naver.
And for the record SHK’s fandom has totally shrunk. Most of them left when song2x sunk and many sided with oppa.
And SHK fans favorite word is always insecure. Pray tell what is there to be insecure about? Her drama’s low ratings, the bashing she gets about her bad acting, the haters she accumulates on a yearly basis? What does SHK have that SYJ could want? What reason does SYJ fans have to be insecure of someone like SHK?
totally agree.. shk is an actress and get bashed over her soso acting despite 20 yrs in the industry.. thats really sad..
Okay peach girl! LMAO it’s always the shippers. SHK is still going strong.
Lol u mean going strong in her magazine high end covers and cf? If as an actress thats what u r proud of then yeah.. she is going strong wohooo!!
Btw im nt a shippers nor a fan of syj.. but i jus hate the mentality of shk stans..
@Stitch Lol why hating the mentality of SHK stans when SYJ stands are as dumb or even dumber to attack SHK. All I see now is some very proud SYJ stand comparing her to every other actresses when they should know that acting is base on one’s preference. You and that Penny girl alone with all SYJ stands prefer her acting while SHK stands prefer hers. It doesn’t matter if SHK is not to your expectations but this list is an article whether you like it or not.
completely agree with your first paragraph. and tbh shk is one of those celeb with a lot of media connection. her agency is also close to the media. she’s famous for being close to dispatch CEO.
onto yur second point about her fandom, I have to say that most shippers ended up siding with her. her fandom probably shrunk due to lack of good projects and loss of interest overtime. it’s actually sjk who lost his fandom when he married in the first place. he gained some shipper fans to contra that but most of them dropped him for her after the divorce. but in his case, his projects and talents are always enough to get him new fans and viewers tuning for him.
Do all anti-SHK think the same about her? Is she really that worthless? I do wonder what her fans see in her to follow her this long? Also were these directors and producers blind? SKJ is probably blind too to even agreed into marrying her in the first place because after her breakups with LBH and HB. She was know to be a fame rider for using beautiful Oppa’s to be in the spotlight.
1. She is mediocre actress who can’t act or emot but onlyuse her beautiful face to look constipated?
2. She has connections to media play her popularity?
3. Everything about her is all hype so she can look better than all the talented actresses?
4. She stole all Oppa’s fans and make Oppa losses everything he ever worked for?
5. She buy her own viewers numbers?
6. She still going strong because she has rich sponsors who support her?
Can anyone fill in all the blink for me since people know her so will? I am not her dieheart fan but has watch most of her drama like Autumn In My Heart, Full House, DOT, and The Grandmaster, to The Crossing. I also watch this drama NWABU too. She is not that bad or horrible with her performance. As for your saying about SJK, those are probably not his dieheart fans or supporters to drop him for her. We all know as a viewers and human being if someone is a good person, it shouldn’t matter if the mountains gonna move, at the of the day those that support them will still remain the same. Just like her, everyone hates her but her fans still believe in her. Everyone in the entertainment has connections with news outlet or DP so you’re plainly pointing fingers at SHK.
Rove seems to be living in an alternate universe where she wishes SHK and JJH always gets paid more. Lol. Wake up and smell the coffee.
And while you’re at it, please provide proof of all your outlandish claims.
SYJ has delivered excellent results on both movies and kdramas and some people still think she doesn’t command a high salary. Is she running a charity to accept less than the others when she delivers more? She has leverage because she delivers above expectations which is more than I say about the 2 other actresses.
If she asks for 300M won, do you think the producers won’t give it to her?
The media article clearly states that only JJH, SHK and LYA get 200M/episode what are you even trying to refute? This is based on an official news article which clearly highlights who the highest paid actresses are and everyone else is paid less than them. Fans are so rabid they don’t even accept official media articles or they only accept what fits their narrative. Dumb as always.
You are the dumb one who stupidly accepts anything without comprehending. Read the article again and learn some comprehension.
It said in the article that “It is rumored that based on the high cost of appearances in the previous work, the ransom price was nearly doubled in this new work.”
So do you accept this official media article then? Lol.
They sure are dumb.
Learn comprehension first before you call other people names. Read the article again and it only says “reportedly” and “rumor has it”.
The original Korean article named all 4 actors. SHK and JJH were rumored to have been paid 200m krw with SYJ and LYA being the only other actresses to be paid more than 100m krw. The way the same article dissed Jirisan, no way was that sanctioned by any officials from either Studio Dragon, tvN, or even JJH’s agency.
I don’t understand why so many people are bothered about it. He’s a great actor and it’s not exactly easy to carry out some scenes. Why do other people get to decide how much he gets when they are not the ones acting. Onces it’s not their favorites getting that amount of money, people will have something to say.
KSH is super talented and he is deserving of a high salary. Not fault if studios are willing to pay him. I guess what some people question is why he commands so nice versus others. His top salary is not new. It’s been this high for years based on a few hits. I guess its just confusing to some. But I say good for him! I just would like to see top actresses paid as much as actors.
I don’t so much mind him having a high salary if that’s what producers are willing to pay but I wish there was some trickle down to the production staff and the production cost of the drama itself so there wouldn’t be so much obnoxious, distracting PPL.
Its Okey to be the highest paid paid actor. ACTORS are like seasons. They work hard while they are young. Every now ,& then New actors will in our screen & soon these actors popularity would be gone.
There’s a sitcom from the US titled “Friends”. In their last few seasons,they were paid $1M each $500MWom is only less than half a million US Dollars.
Its still me. These Actors deserved these paycheck. Thanks. Sorry I missed some words in my comment. I didn’t have time to proofread my comments.
FYI we all know that Man paid differently than the woman. Even if the woman is really successful in the company her salary is still lower than man. It happened everywhere ok
@Lilo it is so funny how you say you are not a shk fan but goes to defend her in every comment which talks about her. If you like her then say it why are you so scared.
What is there to be scared of? So do I have to be someone’s dieheart fan to have some saying about them? I like SHK and watch her dramas as to all other actors and actresses works. I like SYJ and watch her works as well so is that a problem? Did I downgrade anyone? I find it so funny too! Sorry but when I say I’m not a fan of SHK because I watch everyone’s works and have no favorite or biased. I appreciate what these people do and put out. There’s no point to belittle anyone.
The market determined their salary, besides who actually know how much they are making? If Coupang play actually paid such a high salary to KSH that means he can deliver what they want based on his past dramas and performance.
Meanwhile I really enjoy One Ordinary Day, look forward to episode 7 next week.