Korean dramas aren’t only offering a decent storyline, but also wholesome content and an amazing cast with great acting skills. That’s why its popularity has been steadily increasing over the past few years. But good quality comes with good production and good production needs a large amount of money to be made.
To give you a little information about the production budget of an entertaining and amazing show, we list down the top 10 Korean dramas with the highest production costs.
10. Memories of the Alhambra
Memories of the Alhambra is a 2018 mystery drama starring two top Hallyu actors Park Shin Hye and Hyun Bin, about an augmented reality game set largely in Granada, Spain, with more filming going down in Budapest, Hungary, and Slovenia.
The drama is one of the highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television history and was acclaimed for its creative plot and unexpected twists.
It’s attracted attention for its unique theme of augmented reality; and earned praise for its high-end special effects, cinematography, and fast-paced storytelling.
So it isn’t a surprise that this drama has spent lots of cash on production. The production cost was estimated at 20 billion Korean won or approximately $16.5 million.
Genres: Action, Thriller, Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi
9. Hotel Del Luna
Hotel Del Luna is a fantasy drama starring IU and Yeo Jin Goo. A story about the importance of human connection lost lives and loose ends. The drama had numerous fantasy elements, star-studded special appearances, and pricey outfits.
It was reported that IU’s wardrobe cost over 10 million won per episode. It also had a lot of different sets and special computer-generated imagery or CGI. The production cost was estimated at 20 billion Korean won.
Genres: Action, Mystery, Horror, Comedy, Romance, Drama, Fantasy
8. Criminal Minds
The drama is based on an American television series with the same title starring Lee Joongi, Son, Hyun Joo, and Moon Chae Won. It follows a group of highly trained profilers within the fictional national criminal investigation team who hunt criminals to unravel cases.
Criminal Minds received positive reviews and was praised for its plot twists and unexpected scenes. The production cost was approximately $18.5 million for its 20 episodes.
Genres: Action, Mystery, Crime, Drama, Investigation
Related: Highest Paid South Korean Actors
7. Legend of the Blue Sea
The drama boasts an intriguing storyline talented production team and a stellar cast, featuring two of the highest-paid Korean actor’s Jun Ji-Hyun and Lee Min-ho.
The series centers on the romance of a mermaid and therefore the son of a rich businessman who becomes a clever con artist after his parent’s divorce.
Filming began in 2016, and a major part of the production was done in Palau and Spain. With a total production budget of $19 million. The drama brought together two of the most important Hallyu stars so far and went on a rating rampage since its premiere.
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Drama, Fantasy
6. Saimdang Light’s Diary
Saimdang Light’s Diary is a 2017 drama with Lee Young-ae playing the title role is shin Saim-dang, a notorious artist and calligrapher from the Joseon era who resided in the early 16th century.
The series received much attention in 2017 because it was a comeback of actress Lee Youn Ae, whose last appearance on the small screen was 14 years ago in the hit drama Jewel in the place.
Boasting a budget of 22.5 billion won or $20 million. Chinese rights of the series were sold for $267,000 per episode, surpassing the previous record set by the 2016 hit drama Descendants of the Sun.
Rights have also been sold to Netflix for $20,000 per episode, and in Japan for $90,000 per episode.
Genres: Historical, Romance, Drama, Melodrama, Investigation
Kingdom has Netflix’s first original Korean series, which premiered on January 25, 2019. Set during the 15th-century Joseon and Dynasty, it is a time when there is a power struggle for the throne while the reigning king has taken ill.
The cinematography as well as attention to detail on costume and set also boasts the big-screen quality.
The series spent a budget of over $1.78 million per episode for a complete of $21.4 million for 12 episodes with six episodes per season.
Genres: Thriller, Historical, Horror, Drama, Zombies
Vagabond is a 2019 action drama with Lee Seung Gi and Bae Suzy, about a stuntman who gets involved in a tragic airplane crash and ends up discovering a national corruption scandal in the process.
Filming began in June 2018, and therefore the series is entirely pre-produced. Overseas Filming happened in Tanger and Sahara in Morocco and a few scenes in Portugal.
Adding to the production cost are the numerous action scenes of huge scales. The series spent a total budget of 25 billion Korean won or approximately $21.5 million.
Genres: Action, Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Melodrama
3. The King: Eternal Monarch
Hailing in a concert of the foremost anticipated series within the half of 2020, because of its ensemble cast, screenwriter, and extensive publicity.
The drama used lots of computer graphics for action scenes and fantasy elements. Topping the bill are the top Hallyu stars Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-Eun.
The production team also spend much on the huge scale sets and the imaginary Busan city. The total production cost of the series was reported to be over 30 billion won or $25 million.
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Drama, Fantasy
2. Mr. Sunshine
The series is set in the early 1900s in Hanseong, Seoul’s former name several sets dedicated exclusively to Korea’s early 1900s environment were constructed, and 1000 extras for a battle scene were recruited. With a historical background special effects and top actor Lee Byung Hun.
The production team spent more than 1.5 billion Korean won per episode, for a total of 40 billion Korean won.
Critics praised the drama for its deep storytelling and its ability to boost viewers’ awareness of history. It received critical acclaim for its cinematography and storytelling and recorded the second-highest average rating ever for cable television.
Genres: Action, Military, Historical, Romance, Tragedy, Political
1. Arthdal Chronicles
Arthdal Chronicles is a fantasy drama set during a mythical land with a fictional tribe and centered on the ancient past. The drama cast includes top Hallyu actors Song Joong ki and Jang Dong-gun and a huge set was specially built for the drama.
Filming officially started on December 5, 2018, with the opening ceremony of the set, whose construction took place for 8 months.
A big portion of Filming took place in Brunei, setting the scene in simpler times before civilization started. So as to provide fantastic components, massive development expenses are thought to possess been spent on computer graphics.
It reportedly cost over 50 billion won or about $45 million to produce. Despite an all-star cast in a massive production budget, the drama received mixed reviews and lower-than-expected viewership ratings.
It was criticized by Game of Thrones fans for sharing similarities with that series, while critics felt that it employs poor use of CGI and a slow-paced storyline. Viewers were also bewildered by the historical setting, as the dramas set in the Bronze Age, but cast members are seen wearing armors and weapons that do not belong to that era.
Genres: Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Political
Are you surprised by the huge production budget of these dramas? These are the highest top 10 most expensive Korean dramas ever produced. With their pretty huge budget, do you think they are worth it?