The 'Squid Game' creator said he's not rich despite the show's success: 'It's not like Netflix is paying me a bonus'

·2 min read
A triangle pink jacket with a gun in "Squid Game"
A still from "Squid Game." Youngkyu Park/Netflix
  • Hwang Dong-hyuk said told The Guardian he isn't rich despite the show's wild success.

  • "It's not like Netflix is paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract," he said.

  • Documents obtained by Bloomberg shows Netflix estimates the show could make it around $900 million.

Hwang Dong-hyuk, the creator of the wildly popular "Squid Game" TV show, said he isn't rich despite the program's success.

He told The Guardian that, compared to the 4.6 billion won ($36 million) that the winner of the dystopian game the winner gets in his creation: "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 is paying me a bonus. Netflix paid me according to the original contract."

"Squid Game" became Netflix's most-watched show after it premiered in September. The series follows a group of people who compete in a series of deadly children's games in order to win enough money to pay off their debts.

squid game
"Squid Game." Netflix

The Korean drama has also become a pop culture sensation with costumes from the show being used for protests, Youtubers and other groups pledging to recreate the games in real life, and new memes and Tiktok trends being inspired by the games inside the show.

The Wall Street Journal had previously reported that Hwang had to stop writing the script of "Squid Game" at one point to sell his laptop for $675 in cash. At the time he was living with his mother and grandmother and struggling financially.

Hwang told IndieWire that the story is based on issues in the world including the economic crisis in South Korea. Insider recently spoke to a number of Millenials in South Korea who said their lives aren't that different from the characters in the show due to an unprecedented debt crisis in South Korea.

However, the Journal said that studios rejected the story, which was originally written as a movie, for a decade because the concept was "too grotesque and too unrealistic." Hwang said that the pandemic made his show more appealing to Netflix.

Squid Game
"Squid Game." Youngkyu Park

Leaked documents obtained by Bloomberg showed that Netflix estimates the show could generate around $900 million while costing just $21.4 million to produce.

The series has yet to be renewed and Hwang has previously said to The Hollywood Reporter that he was not too keen because the stress of filming the first season caused him to lose six teeth.

Hwang told Variety: "I don't have well-developed plans for 'Squid Game 2.' It is quite tiring just thinking about it. But if I were to do it, I would certainly not do it alone. I'd consider using a writers' room and would want multiple experienced directors."

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