Netflix has a mega-hit on their hands with the Korean drama Squid Game, and on Tuesday the streaming giant revealed just how big of a hit it was in an announcement to their investors. According to Deadline, Squid Game was streamed by a record number of 142 million households since its Sept. 17 release, making it Netflix's biggest hit to date. "A mind-boggling 142m member households globally have chosen to watch the title in its first four weeks. The breadth of Squid Game's popularity is truly amazing," read the letter to investors. Although it was knocked out of the No. 1 spot in Netflix's Top 10 by season 3 of You, Squid Game is still dominating the pop culture conversation a month after its release.
Squid Game's viewing numbers all but obliterated the previous record-holder Bridgerton, which reached 82 million households within the first 28 days of its debut and dethroned The Witcher (76 million views) as the biggest series ever. However, although the streamer is notoriously secretive with its viewing data, it is known that Netflix's figures only take into account users who tuned in for at least two minutes of the series, according to NBC News. A spokesperson previously said a view only counts once an account has watched at least 70% of the episode or film's runtime, including the credits, though warned that the information "should not be taken as a metric for all Netflix content."
Squid Game's massive viewing numbers are far from a surprise. Although the show's overall success is a bit of a shock — director Hwang Dong-hyuk has told numerous outlets that numerous Korean studios passed on the show over the course of a decade before Netflix picked it up — the show has been outperforming on Netflix ever since its debut. Squid Game premiered in the No. 1 spot on the streamer's Top 10 overall chart, where it has remained for a month. As of this posting, the show tops Netflix's list of most-watched shows in 94 countries around the globe. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter about Squid Game's success, Dong-hyuk theorized it was due to the current state of the world and the easily relatable characters.
"Well, these days we are, in fact, living in a deeply unfair and economically challenging world. Especially after the pandemic. I mean, there is more inequality, more severe competition and more people are being pushed to the edge of their livelihoods," he said. "Currently, I would say that more than 90% of people across the world will be able to somehow connect and empathize with the plight of the characters that are portrayed in the series. More than anything else, that's probably why the series was such a big success worldwide."
Despite its success, Netflix has not yet handed out a Season 2 order for Squid Game. Should a renewal be granted, Dong-hyuk hinted at some possible Season 2 storylines, suggesting to THR a possible plot could revolve around "the story of the police officer and the story of his brother, The Front Man. So if I end up creating Season 2, I'd like to explore that storyline - what is going on between those two brothers?" Squid Game Season 1 is available for streaming on Netflix.