It is not common for Netflix to give out such bonuses, it was given in recognition of how lucrative 'Squid Game' has been for the streaming platform.
Squid Game took the world by storm and became the biggest launch on Netflix within a month. The dystopian Korean series follows a group of 456 people who are hard-strapped for cash and find themselves recruited to play children's games with a dangerous twist, all put together by an anonymous organizer promising to give them ₩45.6 billion (US$38.6 million) prize for winning.
The success of the show went beyond the creator of the show, Hwang Dong-hyuk's, wildest imagination. The stars of the show, some of whom were already well-known in South Korea, became even more famous with a worldwide audience. Their characters were all memorable and the viewers could not help but empathize with them.
Squid Game, with its harsh commentary on the state of inequality in society, became a cultural phenomenon. Much of it was inspired by Hwang's own financial struggle in life and it took him more than a decade to bring his vision to the screen. With how successful the show has been, one would assume the director was now enjoying the monetary benefits of his hard work on the show. Previously, he had stated, “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.”
The show has generated almost $900 million of “impact value” for Netflix while it cost only $21.4 million to produce in comparison. The cast of Squid Game was in fact paid less than stars of Succession get paid for one episode. But now, after the roaring success of the show and the stars winning hearts across the world, Netflix has decided to give them performance-based bonuses. Although it is not common for Netflix to give out such bonuses, it was given in recognition of how lucrative Squid Game has been for Netflix, reported Bloomberg.
'Squid Game' Season 2: Producers, Cast in Line for a Big Raise - Bloomberg https://t.co/s4IhKpQMHQ— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) November 21, 2021
In 2019, Netflix film chief Scott Stuber spoke about the compensation to filmmakers stating, “I believe in fair and righteous behavior. One of the things I love so much about the company is that’s the way we’re built. When we make deals, we’re slightly different [than traditional studios]. We have a model. If we make a film, we pay in success.” He went on to explain that at Netflix “we together, with their attorneys, assume the great success ratio of that film. So if we make a movie for $60 million, and it made $200 million, we pay people under the auspices that that's what your deal would be. And what we never want to be is a place where people feel they got taken advantage of.”
In the case of Squid Game, the show overperformed. In cases such as this, Netflix "makes sure to take care of" the creators. This means that with the contract they have with Netflix, another season of the show is on the cards and this was even confirmed by Hwang who said, "There will indeed be a second season. It's in my head right now, I'm in the planning process currently." He added, “There’s been a lot of demand and pressure and love for a second season. It almost feels like we don’t have a choice."
Needless to say, everyone involved in the project was pleased with the bonus and Hwang can now make whatever he has in mind without hesitation.