The Squid Game has crossed the boundaries of our wildest dreams,” said Netflix President for Asia and the Pacific Minoing.
The series “The Squid Game” has officially become the largest production in the history of Netflix in terms of the number of views, topping the rankings in more than eighty countries.
The Korean drama has received 111 million subscribers since its launch 28 days ago, surpassing the record set by the American series “Bridgerton”, which is 82 million views in the same time period.
This shows that the digital broadcasting giant’s plan to increase its international productions has achieved overwhelming success.
“The squid game has crossed the boundaries of our wildest dreams,” Netflix president for Asia and the Pacific Minoung Kim told CNN.
The nine-episode series premiered in September and blends social symbolism with extreme violence through a dystopian view of society, featuring characters from South Korea’s most marginalized groups, including an Indian immigrant and a North Korean defector.
At the end of the game, the winner gets 45.6 billion KRW (approximately $38.1 million), which is not a bad thing, until the contestants realize that whoever loses, gets killed.
The series has attracted a huge audience from all over the world thanks to a combination of factors, one of which is its combination of childish entertainment and its deadly consequences, in addition to the elaborate production and the huge scenography.
The statistics published by Netflix are not audited by any third party, unlike viewership rates on traditional TV. The company counts watching any entry for two minutes on any episode of the series.
The phenomenon of “squid game” or “squid game” is the latest manifestation of South Korea’s growing influence on the global cultural scene, after the huge success of the K-pop group BTS and the winning of the film “Parasite / Parasite” with the Palme d’Or at Cannes.
The nine-episode series premiered in September and blends social symbolism with extreme violence
“Squid Game” director Hwang Dong-hyeok wrote the script for the series 10 years ago, but investors were reluctant to bet on a work they found “very bloody, unusual and mysterious,” according to AFP.
Prior to this series, the director dealt with several topics in his works, including sexual assault, international adoption and disability, based on real facts from which he freely inspired a novelist.
Critics believed that the success of the series, despite the fact that its events revolve in a purely Korean framework, is due to the fact that the topics it deals with and its shedding light on the excesses of capitalism find a global resonance, and consequently constituted the key to its success everywhere.
Sharon Yoon, professor of Korean studies at the University of Notre Dame in the United States, reminded that “the growing tendency to prioritize material gain over individual welfare” is “a phenomenon that exists in all capitalist societies around the world.”
It seems that the Korean wave will not fade away soon, as “Netflix” announced last February a plan to invest $500 million during the current year alone, in series and films produced in South Korea.
“Recently and rapidly over the past two decades, South Korea has transformed into a highly unequal society,” Vladimir Tikhonov, a professor of Korean studies at the University of Oslo, told AFP.
As for Brian Ho, professor of cinema at San Diego Public University in the United States, he considered that the popularity of the series in more than a hundred countries is evidence that it was not produced for Western viewers only.
“Western audiences have always associated foreign media with poverty, and this has become a way of looking down on the rest of the world seen as backward,” he told AFP.
What distinguishes Squid Game and Parasite, he added, is that these two works, “while addressing poverty and class inequality, do so in a way that highlights Korea’s artistic and cinematic modernity.