Good quality comes with good production, and every good production needs a large amount of money to be made. If you think only Hollywood movies have a crazy big budget, you’re totally wrong! Korean drama productions in recent years spent a lot of money to create an entertaining and amazing show for people to watch. In this article, we will be providing you with all the information you need to know about Korean dramas with the highest production costs. Stay tuned and prepare to be shocked!

Arthdal Chronicles

For those who miss seeing Song Joong-ki’s pretty face on their screen, Arthdal Chronicles is the drama for you! This is his first drama comeback after his utter success of playing Captain Yoo Si-jin in Descendants of the Sun with his ex-wife back then, in 2016. Not only Song Joong-ki, but the drama also has plenty of other amazing cast members, such as Jang Dong-gun, Kim Ok-vin, and Kim Ji-won. Arthdal Chronicles is a foreign fantasy drama set in a mythical land with a fictional tribe and centered on ancient times. They have plenty of CGI and beautiful costume designs and make-up. Netizens also compare Arthdal Chronicles to HBO’s mega-hit drama Game Of Thrones! So, it’s not a surprise that this drama has spent a lot of money on production. The filmmakers have spent a lot in ensuring that their fresh drama is a hit with an estimated 3 billion won ($2.53 million) budget per episode. In the lush forests of Brunei, a big portion of filming took place, setting the scene in simpler times before civilization started. Another portion of the filming also took place in Osan City, situated in Gyeonggi Province in the south of Seoul. They’ve constructed a set that you can visit for the drama. In order to produce fantastic components, massive development expenses are thought to have been spent on computer graphics. The drama’s production invested a total of 54 billion won ($45.7 million), and Studio Dragon is its production company. What a massive budget! Don’t forget to watch Arthdal Chronicles to support the drama.

Mr. Sunshine

If you’re a fan of Goblin and Descendants of the Sun, then you must be familiar with the name Kim Eun-sook. She’s the screenwriter of those top-rated dramas, and Mr. Sunshine is her latest work. It stars senior actor Lee Byung-hun, Kim Tae-ri, Yoo Yeon-seok, Kim Min-jung, and Byun Yo-han. The series is set in the early 1900s in Hanseong (Seoul’s former name) and focuses on activists fighting for the independence of Korea. Starting on July 7th, 2018, the series aired on tvN every Saturday and Sunday and ended on September 30th, 2018. It’s been airing on Netflix globally. The drama was first pitched to SBS by Studio Dragon, but due to economic and advertising limitations, the latter passed on to the project. Filming started in September 2017 and has taken place in different areas of Korea including Busan, Daegu, Gokseong, Gyeongju, and Hapcheon. Several sets dedicated exclusively to Korea’s early 1900s environment were constructed on a 20,000-square-meter site in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, and another 6,600 square-meter indoor sites in Daejeon. 1000 extras for a battle scene were recruited. For every episode, they spent more than 1.5 billion Korean won with a total of 30 billion Korean won. Don’t forget to watch Mr. Sunshine to support the drama, and you’ll know why this drama is that expensive!


If you miss seeing Lee Seung-gi and Bae Suzy together after their insane chemistry in Gu Family Book, Vagabond is the answer for you! This drama reunites both actors six years after Gu Family Book ended, and it also has Shin Sung-rok. Filming abroad took place in Portugal and Morocco with numerous action scenes. Vagabond is the number three drama with the largest production cost among the top Korean dramas with a total of 25 billion Korean won, making viewer expectations therefore even greater. Don’t forget to watch Vagabond to support the drama!


Sageuk drama and zombies are the premises of Netflix’s original series Kingdom. Interesting combination, right? But surprisingly, it really works, and fans are loving every minute of it! The series is adapted from Kim Eun-hee’s webcomic series The Kingdom of the Gods, drawn by Yang Kyung-il. It stars Ju Ji-hoon, Ryu Seung-ryong, Bae Doo-na, and Kim Sung-kyu. Aloysius Low of CNET commended the first season’s cinematography, saying, “Shots cleverly linger on certain scenes to draw out the impressive sets, while adeptly tracking the action during sword fights or zombie attacks.” The series spent a budget of over $1.78 million per episode, for a total of 20 billion Korean won! Don’t forget to watch Kingdom to support the drama!

Criminal Minds

The drama is based on the American TV series Criminal Minds. It stars Lee Joon-gi, Son Hyun-joo, Moon Chae-won, Yoo Sun, Lee Sun-bin with Go Yoon, and Kim Yeong-cheol. Criminal Minds received many positive reviews, and some netizens also said that the Korean version is better than the original one. If you’re already watching the American version and love it, this version is worth to watch as well and won’t disappoint you. This drama provides action scenes that are super cool and tense. You will also learn through this drama about the psychology and intentions of the suspects of murder and others. Its cost of production was approximately 1 billion Korean won per episode, with a total of 20 billion Korean won. Don’t forget to watch Criminal Minds to support the drama!

Iris 2

Iris 2 is a South Korean TV series from 2013 about espionage. Starring Jang Hyuk, Lee Da-hae, Lee Beom-soo, Oh Yeon-soo, Yoon Doo-joon, Im Soo-hyang, Lee Joon, and Kim Yeong-cheol. The sequel to the 2009 drama Iris continues the story of officials of the National Security Service facing the mysterious IRIS organization. Seoul, South Korea, Budapest, Hungary, and Akita, Japan, are the filming locations for the series. It is also the first production to be shot since the 2001 movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The total production cost of this drama is 20 million Korean won! If you’re curious about Iris 2, check out the trailer below before you decide to watch it.

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