Netflix reportedly paid $21.4 million for its wildly successful thriller series, Squid Game. The South Korean TV show has become Netflix’s biggest original series of all time, with a record-breaking debut. Despite Netflix’s minimal promotion for the show’s premiere, Squid Game was able to captivate viewers and climb to the No. 1 spot of the streamer’s Top 10 in the U.S. And it’s not only significant due to the high viewership, but also because the show features almost an entirely Korean-speaking cast.
While Squid Game definitely earned Netflix a pretty penny, Bloomberg reported that the streaming service had to pay top dollar for the series. The nine-episode show allegedly cost Netflix $21.4 million. The figure comes from internal documents obtained by Bloomberg, and Netflix did not confirm the figure.
It’s not surprising to hear that Netflix shelled out a few millions for the now insanely popular show. Netflix has written some massive checks in the past, such as $118 million for the sitcom Friends, and even for their originals, like The Crown, which reportedly had a $130 million production budget. So for a multinational streaming giant, $21 million isn’t exactly an unthinkable figure. The high price does say a lot about the future of international productions garnering mainstream attraction in the U.S. The success of Squid Game opens doors for future South Korean productions, particularly a year after Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite won Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
The show has become a pop culture phenomenon, with fans taking inspiration from the show for their Halloween costumes. And considering there’s word about a second season of Squid Game, Netflix is likely willing to throw even more money at its most successful series to date. This time, the streaming service might consider a bigger marketing campaign outside of word of mouth, to get even more people tuned in to the must-watch show. While Squid Game has been compared to other films like Battle Royale and The Hunger Games, its dark themes and tumultuous storyline will make a legacy all on its own.