Hallyu queens Song Hye Kyo and Jun Ji Hyun are reportedly the highest-paid Korean actresses of 2021!
In an exclusive report by Korean news site Hankook Ilbo, industry insiders disclosed that the two actresses were paid over 200 million won (around P8.5 million) per episode of their recent K-dramas. Hye Kyo is currently starring in the romance series Now We Are Breaking Up, while Ji Hyun is leading the mystery thriller Jirisan.
Although Jirisan has been receiving lukewarm reviews from critics due to "poor CGI," it continues to lead the ratings game and is now 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 the drama's streaming rights were previously sold to iQIYI for a whopping 20 billion won (around P856 million)? *gasps*
That may sound like a huge number, but 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 (around P1.3 billion)! Of course, this amount must have included Ji Hyun’s pay, as well as her co-stars' like 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 South 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. ICYDK, Ji Hyun topped the list last year with a reported talent fee of 100 million won (around P4.3 million) 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 (around P2.1 million). Her 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 mentioned Crash Landing On You's Son Ye Jin and Dear My Friends' Go Hyun Jung.
As impressive as it sounds, the pay difference between genders remains a huge issue in South Korea. Several Korean actors have long surpassed the 200 million won (around P8.6 million) mark. In fact, Kim Soo Hyun, who’s currently the highest-paid Korean actor, is reportedly cashing in 500 million won (around P21.4 million) per episode of his new series, One Ordinary Day.
This article originally appeared on Preview.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.