Are Korean Movie Stars Too Expensive?

The Korean film industry continues to grow at an alarming pace. After Silmido opened an era of 10-million ticket sellers in 2004, four more films quickly followed suit. The Host recently set a new record, taking the top spot from the King and the Clown ,which itself brought more than 12.3 million Koreans to the theaters earlier this year. But the growth in the industry means the amount Chungmuro’s biggest names are charging for appearances on the big screen is also shooting through the roof. How does it compare to overall production costs?

How Much Do They Make?

The rates stars charge are a good way to gauge their popularity. Currently, Bae Yong-joon is Korea’s highest paid actor. In last year’s April Snow, the actor was estimated to have earned at least twice the W300 million(US$1=W959) he got for his work on Untold Scandal in 2003.

By using the buzz generated by Bae Yong-joon’s popularity, only in the early stages of production the film was exported to Japan for US$7 million and subsequently raked in W23 billion with its successful run. Choi Min-sik, Song Kang-ho and Seol Kyung-gu are known as the Three Musketeers of Chungmuro for their ability to bring box office success, and they command around W500 million per film. Then there are Lee Byung-hun and Cha Seung-won, who each get about W350 million per movie, and of course Jang Dong-gun, whose appearance in Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War helped take that film above the 10 million tickets mark.

Among the women, Lee Young-ae and Jeon Ji-hyun are at the top, each getting about W350 million-W400 million for their work, while Jeon Do-yeon and Jang Jin-young get W300 million -W350 million for their appearances.

Hollywood Prices

It is hard to make a direct comparison between the price of Korean stars and their foreign counterparts, due to the fact that the scope of distribution is different, as is the size of the market. Tom Cruise made the most money last year of any Hollywood actor, according to the U.S.’ Quigley Publishing, which has every year since 1932 researched producers and theaters owners to find out who the top 10 earners are.

Tom Cruise confirmed his popularity with War of the Worlds, after winning back the top spot with Vanilla Sky. Johnny Depp was second, followed by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, who starred in Mr. and Mrs. Smith. According to Hollywood sources, Tom Cruise earns $28 million-$30 million per film: a sum 56 times greater than the highest-earning Korean screen star. Tom Hanks came second with $27 million-$28 million, and Johnny Depp followed with $26 million. Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz get about $20 million per film, while Nicole Kidman, Jessica Alba and Angelina Jolie earn around $15 million.


What’s Up, Fox?

Go Hyun Jung (The Sandglass, A Spring Day),
Chun Jung Myung (Fashion 70s, Goodbye Solo),
Choi Woo Ji, Cho Chong Wook, Kim Eun Cho, Ahn Sun Young (My Little Bride, Rosy Life), Kwon Hae Hyo (My Name Is Kim Sam-soon; Thank You Life), Yoon Yeo Jung (War of the Roses, A Farewell to Tears), Son Hyun Joo (Conditions of Love, Rosy Life)

Sept. 20th, 2006 – Wed/Thu. @ 9:55 PM (Replaces Over The Rainbow)

Kwon Seok-Jang (Marry Me)

Kim Do-Woo (My Name Is Kim Sam-soon)

Foxy Lady is the drama that follows Over The Rainbow in this broadcasting time slot. Its first episode is scheduled to air on September 20, Wednesday (Script writer: Kim Do-woo, Producer: Kwon Suk-jang). The story is about a not-so-bright older girl who dreams of a “fantasy love” and her relationship with her friend’s brother who is nine years younger than her. The drama stars Ko Hyun-jung and Chun Jung-myung as the odd couple with such a huge age gap. Ko Hyun-jung stars as Ko Byung-hee, a girl with the heart of a 24-year-old who is actually 33 and working as a reporter in a third-rate magazine company. She frequently finds it hard to cope with the blandness of her life. What she dreams of is working for a company that she can be proud of and finding a man who can provide warm support when she needs it. In addition, she wants to go on a world tour in a camping car with her new love. Suddenly, she gets into an accident with her friend Seung-hye’s brother, Chul-su (Seung-hye and Chul-su are played by Ahn Sun-young and Chun Jung-myung, respectively). Chun Jung-myung stars as Park Chul-su, a 24-year-old male working as a mechanic at a car repair shop. Chun makes his first appearance on an MBC drama with this show. Although Chul-su does not have much in life, he is filled with ambition and enjoys life by doing the things he loves: working as a mechanic and traveling. How many people actually find the love they dream of? Until they realize that true love is just around the corner, this couple continues to pursue this unique romantic relationship of “dating a friend’s brother” and “dating my sister’s friend”.
Foxy Lady is written by Kim Do-woo who also penned the wildly popular My Lovely Sam-soon. Producer Kwon Suk-jang, who has created such fun-loving dramas for women such as Lady Next Door and Marry Me is in charge of the production.
Source: MBC Global Media, WITH S2

doozy: I’m really looking forward to watching this new show since I like Chun Jung Myung and the script is written by the writer of My Name is Kim Sam Soon.