Squid Game has already reached 111 million viewers within its first 25 days of streaming according to Netflix’s internal evaluations, making it the biggest series launch from the streaming service yet. The Korean survival drama, which launched September 17, surpasses the previous record-holder Bridgerton, which debuted with 82 million viewers after its launch last December.
However, that number doesn’t speak to how many people have finished the series or gotten past the first episode. The internal metric used by Netflix is based on the number of accounts that have picked and streamed a title for at least 2 minutes. Still, Squid Game rests at No.1 on Netflix’s Top 10 list for 92 countries, supporting its rapid popularity.
Squid Game, an intense and nail-biting drama, centers around 456 contestants, each in desperate need of money, as they compete in deadly versions of classic children’s games for a cash prize. In the short time since its debut, the show has already become a pop-cultural phenomenon, earning a 91% score on Rotten Tomatoes and brands such as Walmart already announcing plans to produce merchandise. The buzz surrounding the show has even surprised Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s co-CEO, and content chief. He anticipated Squid Game’s rise to the top last month at Vox Media’s Code Conference, stating “We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity.”
Series creator and director Hwang Dong-hyuk developed the concept of Squid Game in 2008 as a film, but was turned down by multiple Korean production studios who believed the idea was too violent and unrealistic. Dong-hyuk went on to create several successful films such as The Fortress and Silenced. He revisited the concept when Netflix invested in the series in 2019 in its effort to increase its overseas productions.
Squid Game stands as a testament to Netflix’s ability to reach audiences on a global scale. Its popularity acts as a stepping stone for other foreign series and films to break into Western media and introduce new and inventive storytellers. Netflix has released a short video via Twitter, thanking its viewers, which you can watch below. Season 1 of Squid Game is now currently available to stream.