15 of the Highest Paid K-Drama Actors and What They Earn
After revealing the highest paid K-Drama actresses, a new report from news outlet Ilgan Sports has revealed the highest paid K-Drama actors in 2015. It appears as though the pay gap between actresses and actors is not as large as it has been in the past. However, male actors tend to enjoy greater popularity amongst female fans. In addition to their high earnings from K-Dramas, actors can cash in on their success through overseas fan meetings. Also, a successful K-drama will result in filming CFs which is quite profitable for actors.
Without further ado let’s check out the list of Korea’s top actors’ earnings per episode compiled after consulting with drama production companies, broadcasting company producers, management staff members, and other specialists in the entertainment industry.
Idols Turned Actors
Park Hyung Sik, Yook Sungjae, and Lee Joon earn the smallest amount on this list with 10 million KRW (approx. 8,400 USD) per episode. Park Hyung Sik recently enjoyed great success with “High Society” while Yook Sungjae will be the male lead for the upcoming drama “Village.” Despite the popularity of idols, many idol actors are unable to receive higher earnings like the other actors on this list. A production company insider comments, “Unless the actor is super popular and established like Suzy or YoonA, they cannot gain high earnings. Also, since there are negative stereotypes about idol turned actors, they cannot really ask for a lot.”
Kim Woo Bin, Joo Won, and Ji Chang Wook earn 50 million KRW (approx. 42,000 USD) per episode. Hallyu stars in their own rights, these actors are swiftly rising in popularity and earnings. A director candidly notes, “I would want to cast them even if that means having to give them a blank check.” Besides being well-loved in Korea, these actors are gaining great popularity in many other countries. It seems like their earnings will only continue to increase at this point.
However, these actors have yet to finish their mandatory military service. They will have to within three years or so. Before leaving for the military, these actors will most likely make great efforts to establish their identities in order to be remembered positively and be able to continue well upon their returns.
Song Joong Ki and Lee Jong Suk’s earnings rates are at 60 million KRW (approx. 50,300 USD). After completing his military service in May, Song Joong Ki will be greeting audiences through the highly anticipated drama “Descendants of the Sun.”
Yoo Ah In, Lee Min Ho, and Lee Seung Gi are able to charge 70 million KRW (approx. 58,700 USD) per episode.
So Ji Sub received 80 million KRW (approx. 67,100 USD) per episode for both “Phantom” and “Master’s Sun.” He is known for being able to portray his characters’ unique traits very well. Also, Jo In Sung received his highest rates for “That Winter the Wind Blows” and is currently looking for his next project.
Kim Soo Hyun and Hyun Bin are the highest paid actors having received 100 million KRW (approx. 83,900 USD) per episode this year. With a string of highly popular dramas like “The Moon That Embraces the Sun,” “My Love From the Star,” “Producer,” and more, Kim Soo Hyun is an extremely sought after actor. He received his highest earnings with “My Love From the Star.” However, he didn’t raise his rates for his following drama “Producer” due to his consideration for writer Park Ji Eun.
As for Hyun Bin, he filmed the highly popular drama “Secret Garden” before entering his military service. Upon his return, he chose “Hyde, Jekyll, Me” as his comeback project. Due to the success of his previous drama, he was able to charge a high fee for his comeback drama. An insider reveals, “I’m not sure how his next project will work out, but his earnings for ‘Hyde, Jekyll, Me’ was his peak.”
What do you think about these actors and their earnings? Do you expect it to change next year?