Squid Game is officially Netflix’s most popular series launch of all time after smashing the record set by Bridgerton
Squid Game is officially Netflix’s most popular series launch of all time.
Since its September 17 release, the harrowing Korean drama has become the streaming giant’s first show to top 100 million viewers in its first month.
This smashes the mighty Bridgerton’s record of 82 million views in the first 28 days of its release in December 2020.
In a statement on Twitter the streaming giant announced: “It took more than 10 years for Hwang Dong-hyuk to get Squid Game made. It took just 17 days and 111M global fans for it to become our biggest series launch ever.”
The tweet also included a message from the mysterious masked Front Man from the show, who can be heard offering his “heartfelt thanks” to the “111 million of you” who “have joined the ranks of the VIPs”.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos predicted this would happen, saying the breakout hit had a “very good chance” of becoming Netflix’s biggest show ever.
Notably, Netflix figures only take into account users who tuned in for at least two minutes – it doesn’t necessarily mean that 111 million people viewed the entire series to the end.
However, the dark thriller is said to have got millions of viewers binge watching as one of the most compelling and talked-about shows of 2021. It’s also gained critical acclaim globally, including a 91 percent rating on popular review site, Rotten Tomatoes.
The popularity of the show might have some scratching their heads as it’s far from an easy watch.
The premise is brutal – around 500 people from different backgrounds, all apparently in debt, sign up to compete against each other in a series of seemingly harmless children’s games to win millions in prize money.
However, that is just smoke and mirrors as contestants later discover that if they lose they will be shot dead by masked guards in red jumpsuits.
Worse still, those who change their minds about participating will also be shot.
On the surface, the show is about survival, but it’s reportedly a metaphor for South Korea’s current debt crisis and the dangers of capitalism.
The show, which currently sits at number one on Netflix UK, just ahead of Maid and Sex Education, became so popular in South Korea that a local broadband provider sued Netflix because the show led to an uncontrollable surge in traffic.
In its home country, Squid Game became an instant success, striking a chord with millions who could relate to the underlying themes.
Director Hwang Dong Hyuk said he wanted to portray the “survival game as a metaphor, a parable for modern capitalist society.”
“One reason why Netflix’s record-breaking hit drama resonated with so many people is that it is also a social commentary on real-life incidents in Korea,” writes the daily Korea Herald.
Those “real-life incidents” include growing inequality, discrimination against social minorities and extreme pressure to perform.
The Netflix series is said to have also led to a significant increase in interest in Americans learning Korean.
In early October, the company Duolingo, which offers online language courses, said it had registered 40 per cent more users for Korean language courses in the United States than in the same period last year.