‘It’s an absolute rollercoaster from start to finish. A cat-and-mouse survival sequence’

Distributors Paramount Global Content Distribution
Producers Studio LuluLala (SLL); Climax Studio
Length 6 x 60 minutes
Broadcasters Paramount+ (US); TVING (South Korea)

After the global response to chilling South Korean hits Squid Game and Parasite, the industry has been ripe for an equally unsettling scripted title. Bargain looks tailor-made to fill that gap.

A group of strangers gather at a remote motel, each with an ulterior motive and seeking to bargain for items that are highly sought after and grisly in equal measure. After an unexpected earthquake hits, the group find themselves trapped inside the building – each facing a race to survive and unable to trust anyone else.

Adapted from director Lee Chung-Hyun’s award-winning 2015 short film of the same name, the earthquake storyline is an additional twist that adds extra layers to the story. The series is in good production hands too, hailing from genre specialist Climax Studio, which is behind supernatural thrillers Hellbound for Netflix and Monstrous for South Korean streamer TVING.

Its creator, showrunner and producer is another Hellbound alum, Seung-min Byun, who has previously worked on Korean thrillers The Cursed and Ballerina.

This high-octane thriller is the second Korean drama Paramount Global is taking out to market. Its first title, Yonder, which was also created out of Paramount’s global partnership with Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM, swiftly became the number one international series to debut on Paramount+ when it aired in the US.


Bargain launched on TVING in October 2022 and became an instant hit, recording the highest unique viewing number among TVING originals in its premiere week.

Dan Cohen, chief content licensing officer at Paramount Global and president of Republic Pictures, is optimistic that its latest Korean drama will deliver a similar performance, attributing Bargain’s immediate success in its home country to its fast-paced, irreverent storyline and high production quality.

“It’s an absolute rollercoaster from start to finish,” he says. “It really becomes a cat-and-mouse survival sequence.”

Cohen points to Bargain’s distinctive storytelling technique of playing out as though it was one continuous sequence. “It is completely riveting. The actors really had to be on their game, and they deliver.”

His confidence has been borne out critically, with the series winning the best screenplay award at Canneseries and the critics choice award at the Busan Film Festival. Cohen says he has been “blown away by the response to Bargain in the festival space”.

“It holds up beautifully throughout – it’s fast-paced and wild”

The first window for Bargain is committed to Paramount+, with the series premiering across all of the Paramount+ territories outside of Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

However, there are second-window deals available in hundreds of markets where Paramount+ doesn’t operate, with Cohen describing the title as “one of our biggest priorities”. He is particularly hopeful that as a Korean production, the series will do well in Asian territories.

With Bargain airing on Paramount+ in October, Cohen says the attention it is getting is “ very exciting”.

“This is the best of Korean production,” he adds. “It holds up beautifully throughout – it’s fast-paced and wild.”