Squid Game came out of nowhere to become Netflix’s biggest series of all time. The violent, witty social parable is about the crushing weight of personal debt in South Korea, but audiences worldwide have embraced it. That’s despite Netflix doing little to promote it on its original release, the show being almost entirely in Korean, not being based on any pre-existing property, and featuring no stars recognizable to Western audiences.
Now Bloomberg is reporting that the streaming giant paid $21.4 million for the exclusive rights to stream it, meaning that this is a gamble that paid off big time.
On one hand, that amount is a relatively high investment in a show that you’d expect to have a limited audience, though you can’t deny it’s got very high production values. On the other, $21.4 million is a drop in the bucket for the immensely wealthy Netflix.
The Crown alone is estimated to have cost $520 million so far, House of Cards was made for approximately $365 million, with Stranger Things coming in around the same amount at $300 million. But at least those were hits: flop superhero show Jupiter’s Legacy is reported to have set them back $200 million and hardly anyone watched it.
Compared to those figures, Squid Game is looking like quite the bargain, and whoever decided to buy it must be very happy with themselves right now. This success isn’t over yet either, though the story comes to a satisfying end in the first season, there are already talks of a follow-up in the works.
After this roaring success, expect more Squid Game soon. Let’s just hope they can live up to the stratospheric level of quality that made the show a global smash.