Netflix sensation Squid Game is more than just a trending topic and the proof is in the viewership numbers.
According to Deadline, the streaming platform reported the Korean dystopian series brought in 111 million viewers in its first month on the platform, making it the biggest launch in Netflix history. The show bested the previous record of 82 million held by Shonda Rhimes’ Bridgerton.
Squid Game debuted in September and reached No. 1 in 90 countries. Although the show is in Korean, Netflix dubbed the program so the dialogue is presented in more than 30 languages. In the fictional series, 456 contestants compete with each other in a mysterious and deadly game of survival, aiming to win the 45.6 billion won prize money.
The official synopsis for Squid Game reads:
“A mysterious invitation to join the game is sent to people at risk who are in dire need of money. 456 participants from all walks of life are locked into a secret location where they play games in order to win 45.6 billion won. Every game is a Korean traditional children’s game such as Red Light, Green Light, but the consequence of losing is death. Who will be the winner, and what is the purpose behind this game?”
Although it has proven to be an instant fan favorite, Squid Game took more than a decade to come to life. According to a press statement, the director Hwang Dong-hyuk first had the idea in 2008 and began writing the project that same year, finishing the script in 2009. The nine-episode series, originally created to be a film, was shelved by Dong-hyuk as he worked on the successful movies Silenced (2011), Miss Granny (2014), and The Fortress (2017).
“At the time, it seemed very unfamiliar and violent,” he said of Squid Game. “There were people who thought it was a little too complex and not commercial. I wasn’t able to get enough investment and casting was not easy. I dabbled in it for about a year, but I had to put it to sleep then.”
He added, “I wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life.”
During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Dong-hyuk shared despite the massive success and call for more, he has yet to decide on whether or not he will establish a second season of Squid Game. Creating the series was a stressful process, even causing physical symptoms including his losing of six teeth.
“It’s true that season one ended in an open-ended way, but I actually thought that this could be good closure for the whole story too,” he shared.
Dong-hyuk added “And you’re right, the pressure on me is huge now, with such a big audience waiting for a season two. Because of all that pressure, I haven’t decided yet whether or not I should do another season. But if you look at it in a positive way, because so many people loved season one and are expecting good things for season two, there are people everywhere in the world offering their opinions about where the show should go. I could actually pull ideas from fans all around the world to create the next season. I think that’s what I’m wrestling with right now — that I shouldn’t just view it as a huge amount of pressure, but think of all of this love and support I’m receiving as a big box of inspiration that I can leverage for season two.”
Squid Game stars Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Wi Ha-joon, Jung Ho-yeon and more. Watch a behind-the-scenes featurette below and the official trailer for Netflix’s Squid Game above.