Squid Game, the South Korean-made phenomenon, has taken the world by storm since its premiere on Netflix in 2021.
The gripping, gritty, and gruesome survival drama has not only garnered over nine hundred million dollars for the streaming giant but has also secured a second-season confirmation and even inspired a reality show challenge.
While Netflix thrives on the success of Squid Game, the series creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, appears to be facing financial struggles.
A recent report by the LA Times sheds light on the contractual limitations that have left Dong-hyuk without a share of the wild profits his creation amassed.
Hwang Dong-hyuk’s involvement with Netflix’s Squid Game began with the sale of his series to the streaming platform. Unfortunately, the deal was structured as a flat fee payment, leaving Dong-hyuk without any residuals from the massive profits the show earned. Additionally, his contract also forfeited his rights to intellectual property related to the killer game concept. Despite winning an Emmy for the first season and being set to return as the director and Executive Producer for the second season, Dong-hyuk’s financial benefits have been limited by the original compensation agreement.
Squid Game creator Hwang Dong-hyuk’s comment on pay
When Squid Game first gained worldwide attention, Dong-hyuk opened up about his compensation in an interview with The Guardian, revealing, “I’m not that rich. But I do have enough. I have enough to put food on the table. And it’s not like Netflix paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract.”
Although the show’s immense success led to substantial revenue for Netflix, the financial gains were not extended to the series creator.
Squid Game has recently found itself entangled in controversies. Netflix announced plans to launch a reality show spin-off titled “Squid Game: The Challenge,” featuring 456 contestants participating in games similar to those seen in the original drama. However, the reality show has faced backlash from contestants who alleged poor working conditions and even claimed that the game was rigged.
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Despite these controversies, Netflix remains committed to premiering “Squid Game: The Challenge” on its platform in 2023.
Following the LA Times report, Netflix issued a statement in response to concerns about Hwang Dong-hyuk’s compensation. The streaming giant asserted, “We pay fair, highly competitive rates with our K-Content creators and set clear standards for our Korean production partners, who produce all our shows and movies. These standards meet or exceed Korean law.”