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‘Squid Game’ becomes Netflix’s biggest ever series launch

“111 million of you have joined the ranks of the VIPs, making Squid Game our #1 show in the world"

By Hollie Geraghty

A still from Squid Game on Netflix of the guards and players
An episode still from 'Squid Game', Netflix's biggest ever debut. Photo: Netflix

‘Squid Game’ is officially Netflix’s biggest series launch ever, reaching 111 million fans since it debuted less than a month ago.

The South Korean drama quickly became a viral hit within just four weeks of its release on September 17, with viewers instantly becoming hooked on the nine episode dystopian thriller.

The wildly popular series depicts a world where Korean citizens crippled by debt have a chance to win an absurd amount of money by playing children’s games, with the losers being killed off.

The show’s appeal spread quickly by word of mouth and on social media, soaring to the top of Netflix’s TV charts in 94 countries, including the UK and US.

The streaming service tweeted: “Squid Game has officially reached 111 million fans — making it our biggest series launch ever!”

In a video shared with the tweet, an announcer’s voice pulled straight from the show says in Korean: “I would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to you all. 111 million of you have joined the ranks of the VIPs, making Squid Game our #1 show in the world. And for the rest of you, will you seize the opportunity to join the game?”

Romantic regency drama ‘Bridgerton’ held the record previously at 82 million fans in its first 28 days.

Netflix measures its reach by including any account that watched an episode for at least two minutes.

In a recent interview with IndieWire, ‘Squid Game’ creator Hwang Dong-hyuk reflected on the unforeseen success of the Korean language show across the world.

“Before, with older media, when one country’s filmmaker wanted to go to bring their film to another country, there were a lot of barriers with time and language,” he said.

“I think now, if there’s good content, the global audience is just waiting to watch it. I think ‘Squid Game’ is proof that this is possible.”

He added: “The only possible problem that’s left could be the language barrier, but I think people are warming up to that, as well.” 

Netflix offers both subtitles and dubbed versions in multiple languages.

In the same interview he said that he also thought Donald Trump resembles one of the VIPs in the show.

“It’s almost like he’s running a game show, not a country, like giving people horror,” he said. “After all these issues happened, I thought it was about time that this show goes out into the world.”