Squid Game, the Netflix show that started streaming on September 17, will be the streamer’s “biggest non-English language show in the world, for sure,” said Co-Chief Executive Officer Ted Sarandos on Monday, according to a CNET report.
Speaking at the Code Conference in Los Angeles, Sarandos added that the Korean show “has a very good chance” of becoming Netflix’s biggest show ever.
Squid Game is “an imaginative, unorthodox story in which 456 contestants risk their lives in a mysterious survival game for a chance to win 45.6 billion won,” as per Netflix’s synopsis. All the 456 participants play one game each day as they race towards the prize, and the price of failure is death.
The show is written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, who has films like Miss Granny to his credit. Miss Granny has been remade in Telugu as Oh Baby! with Samantha Akkineni.
Dong-hyuk first conceived Squid Game as a film and began writing it in 2008. Noting that this was right after his debut, he said, “That was a time when I frequented comic book stores. As I was reading a lot of comic books, I thought about creating something like a comic book story in Korea.”
However, Dong-hyuk shelved the idea and continued work on his other projects, as it seemed “unfamiliar and violent” then. “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,” he added.
The series examines human nature and how we change from childhood to adulthood by showing adults revisiting and playing children’s games. Dong-hyuk said, “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.”
The cast of Squid Game comprises actors Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, Oh Young-soo, Wi Ha-Jun, Jung Ho-yeon, Heo Sung-tae, Anupam Tripathi, and Kim Joo-ryoung, among others.
Netflix announced on Wednesday that Squid Game became the first Korean series to top the charts on the streaming platform in the US.
While Sarandos did not provide any data to support his claims about Squid Game, according to the numbers shared at the conference, Bridgerton is currently most watched show on Netflix in terms of both number of accounts that viewed it (82 million households) as well as viewing hours (625 million). The first metric counts subscribers who view the content for at least 2 minutes.
Extraction is the most popular film on the platform with 99 million households, while Bird Box is the most watched in terms of the viewing hours (282 million).
Earlier, on Saturday, at Netflix’s global fan-event TUDUM, new teasers of Bridgerton Season 2 and Extraction 2 were unveiled.