Many fans are curious about how much their favorite actors get paid for their dramas and we finally have an answer for you.
A recent article published by Wikitree offers a rare look at the top 5 highest paid actors in Korean dramas and the list has some surprising entries.
The article noted that previously, Korean actors association used to divide actors in grades, from grade 6 to 18. Grade 18 was reserved for the highest paid actors who’d receive around 2 million won per drama ($1.8 million). However, this system soon became outdated and as kdramas grew in popularity and so did the actors paychecks.
Here is a list of the top highest paid Korean actors per episode.
Lee Jong Suk – “While You Were Sleeping” – 120 million won ~ 130 million won ($109,515 ~ $118,668) per episode
“While You Were Sleeping” is considered a fan-favorite kdrama that found success in South Korea and overseas. Lee Jong Suk is known for having a huge international fanbase.
Lee Jong Suk has been recently discharged from the military. Fans are curious about his next move.
Lee Seung Gi – “Vagabond” – 120 million won ~ 130 million won per episode
Lee Seung Gi is known for being one of the biggest hallyu actors. His latest drama “Vagabond” was a massive success domestically and overseas. He’s long been considered one of the biggest actors of his generation, no wonder he’s one of the highest paid actors.
“Vagabond” became so beloved that fans are still demanding a second season.
Lee Byung Hun – “Mr. Sunshine“- 150 million won ($136,886) per episode
“Mr. Sunshine” is considered one of the biggest kdramas ever in recent memory and one of the highest rated in cable dramas history. A huge reason why it’s been such a huge success has to be Lee Byung Hun who has put on an amazing performance, no wonder he’s been paid so much per episode.
Song Joong Ki – “Arthdal Chronicles” – 180 million won ($164,232) per episode
Song Joong Ki is considered one of the biggest hallyu stars as well. “Arthdal Chronicles” was his first project following the massive success of “Descendants Of The Sun” which shot him into worldwide fame, so its not unexpected he’d be the second highest paid actor.
And the first spot goes to
Bae Yong Joon – “The Story of the Great King“ – 250 million won ($228,100) per episode
Most of you might either not be familiar with this actor or remember him vaguely. Yes, he’s that teacher who appears in the first episodes of “Dream High.”
“The Story of the Great King” is a historical drama that aired in 2007, it made headlines back then for how much its lead actor was paid. Bae Yong Joon still holds the record for the highest paid Korean actor per episode, if we adjust it for inflation, it will be even higher in today’s currency.
Since then, Bae Yong Joon has retired from acting and focused on managing an agency called KeyEast which you’re probably familiar with since it houses some of the biggest Korean actors including Jisoo, Moon Ga Young, Kim Dong Wook, Woo Do Hwan to name a few.
Did these entries shock you? Which one of these actors is your favorite?