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Actor Kim Soo-hyun poses at an event for the drama “Queen of Tears” at a hotel in Guro District, Seoul, March 7. Yonhap

By KTimes

Kim Soo-hyun, the lead actor of the tvN drama “Queen of Tears,” has agreed to a fee of 5 billion won ($3.7 million) for the series, consisting of 16 episodes. This agreement translates to about 300 million won per episode, according to the Hankook Ilbo, a sister publication of The Korea Times.

Previous reports of a per-episode fee of 800 million won have been confirmed as incorrect, it reported. Kim’s compensation for “Queen of Tears” is, in fact, less than 500 million won per episode for his role in “One Ordinary Day” on Coupang Play.

His decision to accept a lower fee compared to his previous work signals a potential shift in the dynamics of actor remuneration, as production companies are facing escalating production costs. Kim’s agency has maintained silence on the specifics of his compensation.

“Queen of Tears” showcases the talents of writer Park Ji-eun, with a production budget of 40 billion won, a significant portion of which — 5 billion won — goes to Kim Soo-hyun.

The drama tells of the intricate love story of Hong Hae-in (Kim Ji-won), a third-generation descendant of the chaebol (large industrial South Korean conglomerate) The Queens Group, and a department store magnate, and Baek Hyun-woo (Kim Soo-hyun), the supermarket heir and son of a village chief, as they go through a crisis in their third year of marriage.

After its sixth episode, “Queen of Tears” broke its own viewership records, hitting a rating of 14.1 percent nationwide, according to Nielsen Korea.

The South Korean entertainment industry places a significant emphasis on the star power of actors like Kim. His ability to command such a substantial fee is indicative of his influence and the value he brings to a project. Despite the financial burdens incurred by production companies, the investment in top-tier talent is often justified by the dramatic impact on viewership ratings and overall success.

This article from the Hankook Ilbo, a sister publication of The Korea Times, was translated by generative AI and edited by staff members of The Korea Times.




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