'Squid Game' Has Been Largely Successful for Netflix, but Has Its Creator Made Any Money?

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Oct. 26 2021, Published 3:09 p.m. ET

Hwang Dong-hyuk
Source: Netflix

South Korean filmmaker Hwang Dong-hyuk has been working in the industry for well over two decades. He first received buzz as a student filmmaker in 2004 with the award-winning Miracle Mile, a short film about a Korean-American illegal taxi driver who helps a young woman in his car search for her brother. He since went on to create successful and thought-provoking feature films.

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While the director received plenty of praise and attention in the South Korean film industry, he achieved international acclaim with Squid Game.

squid game director
Source: Netflix
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It's impossible to understate the success of Squid Game. The dark satirical K-drama on Netflix about desperate people competing in deadly children's games for a cash prize has seen enormous success both in South Korea and all over the world. The actors have been making the rounds on U.S. late-night talk shows like Jimmy Fallon, and every day, there are heaps of new videos on how to make the dalgona sugar candy from Season 1 Episode 3, "The Man with the Umbrella."

With a show this successful, Hwang Dong-hyuk must be seeing that Netflix cash rolling in, right? Right?

Unfortunately, that isn't exactly the case.

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What is Hwang Dong-hyuk's net worth?

While he's received plenty of attention and acclaim, Hwang Dong-hyuk's current net worth stands at about 5 million US dollars (which puts him at about 5.8 billion Korean won), according to Exactnetworth. It stands to reason that we could see some new estimates tallied up due to the ongoing success of Squid Game, but the creator's current wealth doesn't seem to reflect the show's popularity at this time.

Hwang Dong-hyuk

Director, Screenwriter

Net worth: $5 million (USD)

Hwang Dong-hyuk is a South Korean filmmaker. He is best known for writing and directing Squid Game.

Birthdate: May 26, 1971

Birthplace: Seoul, South Korea

Korean Spelling: 황동혁

Education: Seoul National University, University of Southern California

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Dong-hyuk hasn't earned much more money, but he has lost teeth.

According to Bloomberg, Squid Game has been estimated to earn Netflix over $900 million, far exceeding the production budget of approximately $21 million, and currently has a viewership of more than 142 million people. Its cost per episode is reportedly lower than that of other Netflix exclusives like The Crown and Stranger Things, but the show is still seeing immense returns.

Yet despite the show's financial success and subsequent critical acclaim, Dong-hyuk hasn't exactly shared in the profits.

"I'm not that rich, but I do have enough," Dong-hyuk told The Guardian in October 2021. "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."

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Dong-hyuk hasn't yet seen much personal financial gain from the show. Quite the opposite, in fact. Conception and creation of the show, which began as early as 2009, apparently caused him so much stress that he lost six teeth throughout the process.

"It was physically, mentally, and emotionally draining," he told the outlet. "I kept have new ideas and revising the episodes as we were filming, so the amount of work multiplied."

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