There has recently been a great wave of hustling and bustling in the Korean entertainment industry due to the come back of three mega celebrities who have recently been discharged: Jo In Sung (age 31), Kang Dong Won (age 31) and Hyun Bin (age 30).
Production teams from films, dramas, CFs, you-name-it, have been lashing out a fierce competition with one another to recruit these stars. A source from a drama production team even commented, “Next year’s success will be named according to these three stars’ actions.” Therefore, it can’t be missed that the value of these three stars are rapidly rising.
Rumors say that production teams have been sending emails or packages of scripts and scenarios to each celebrity even three to six months before their discharge. Park Sang Joo of the Korean Drama Production Alliance stated, “Every single project probably prioritized on getting these three actors for their cast. These three stars probably received every single scenario there is at the moment,” and “The mindset of each production team was probably, ‘Even if we can’t eat it, let’s take a poke at it.'”
In Hyun Bin’s case, it has been reported that tens of scenarios for films and dramas have been sent. Industry sources commented, “There are about five to six CF contracts that are about to expire and even more prospective CF contracts that have been given to him.”
Hyun Bin’s agency stated, “Since Hyun Bin’s hair is still really short from being in the Marines, he still needs time,” and “Whether he returns through a drama or film, his come back will be sometime in the latter half of next year. For now, he will officially resume activities by going to his Asia fan meeting since ‘Secret Garden‘ will be airing in Japan early next year.”
Kang Dong Won, who had been discharged in November, chose the film, “Gang Of Robbers,” as his come back project, which will crank up production in early next year. “Gang Of Robbers” is about a group of thieves from the Joseon era and will be directed by Yoon Jong Bin, who also directed “Nameless Gangster: Rules of Time.”
Kang Dong Won’s reps commented, “Kang Dong Won has been confirmed for two films so far. We are in the middle of discussion for many other projects,” and “If you calculate the time from filming to releasing, each movie takes about one year to complete. So you can say that the next two years of Kang Dong Won’s schedule have been set.”
Jo In Sung was discharged last year but has only been working on CFs until now. He will be making a come back to the small screen through the drama, “That Winter, The Wind Blows“ in February of next year. His agency commented, “Jo In Sung initially chose the film ‘Martial Arts‘ for his come back piece but due to delays in filming, his come back was delayed as well,” and “He hasn’t given up ‘Martial Arts’ but he is currently focusing his energy to the drama.”
Another industry source commented, “Usually, the value of male celebrities after their discharge falls but for these three stars, it’s either the same or even higher.”
Some of the numbers from the love calls include 500 million won (500,000 USD) for a film, 80 million won (80,000 USD) per episode for a drama and a one year contract for a CF with 2 parts for 800 million won (800,000 USD).
A drama production source commented, “In Jo In Sung’s case, he will be receiving 100 million won (100,000 USD) per episode for his upcoming drama.” Another source from the CF business commented, “The compensation rate has risen to about 50 to 100 million won (50,000 to 100,000 USD) for the three stars.”
Now, the public is interested in whether these three stars, who have had two years off and are into their thirties, can be as successful as they were in their prime. One drama production staff warned, “The military service time for these three stars may have been the waning period for their popularity. Nowadays, actors like Song Joong Ki, Kim Soo Hyun, Yoo Ah In and Park Yoo Chun are the rising stars. Also, these days, the project itself brings success, not so much the stars themselves.”
However, Oh Se Kang from the SBS drama department commented, “Even after their enlistment, the three actors appeared on the TV screen through many CFs so the public didn’t really feel that they were missing,” and “Since there aren’t many top male stars in their thirties right now, their values must rise since they are so scarce.”
Jung Duk Hyun, a pop culture critic stated, “Their come back after their discharge will be a good opportunity for a transformation in their acting.”