In an exclusive report by Korean news site Hankook Ilbo, industry insiders disclosed the two actresses were paid over 200 million won (approximately P8.5 million) per episode of their most recent dramas. Hye Kyo is currently starring in the romance series Now We Are Breaking Up, while Ji Hyun top-bills the mystery thriller Jirisan.
Although the latter show has been receiving lukewarm reviews from critics due to “poor CGI,” it continues to lead the ratings game and is now actually one of the highest rated K-dramas on cable TV. The production isn’t just raking in high numbers by the viewers, though. Did you know that Jirisan’s streaming rights were previously sold to iQiyi for a whopping 20 billion won (approximately P856 million)?
Now, that may sound like a hefty number, but believe it or not, it’s not nearly enough to pay off the amount it took to create Jirisan. According to SBS Star, the drama’s total production budget cost a jaw-dropping 32 billion won (approximately P1.3 billion). Of course, this amount must have included Ji Hyun’s pay, as well as that of her other popular co-stars such as Ju Ji Hoon and Oh Jung Se.
Hye Kyo and Ji Hyun are no strangers to the “highest paid” title, with both of them consistently landing on the list as two of Korea’s top stars. The only difference? While no specific figures were given, their current salaries are reportedly the biggest amount offered to any actress in K-drama history. FYI, Ji Hyun topped the list last year, as she earned at least 100 million won for each episode of her dramas, just a few paces ahead of veteran actress Lee Young Ae. Meanwhile, Hye Kyo came in fifth with a pay per episode of 50 million won. Suffice to say, the DOTS actress' asking fee has definitely ballooned since then.
Hankoook Ilbo noted that only a select few actresses have a talent fee of over 100 million won. Apart from the three mentioned, the news site also singled out Son Ye Jin and Dear My Friends star Go Hyun Jung.
Impressive as that is, the pay disparity between genders remains a huge issue in Korea, seeing as several Korean actors have long surpassed the 200 million won mark. In fact, Kim Soo Hyun, who’s currently the highest paid actor in Korea, is reportedly cashing in 500 million won per episode of his Coupang Play series One Ordinary Day.