Squid Game has become Netflix‘s biggest series launch, with 111 million viewers in the first 28 days, the streaming giant says. The series has now overtaken the drama Bridgerton, which was watched by 82 million households in its first month.

Squid Game is set in South Korea and sees people who are heavily in debt invited to play a series of challenges which could see them scoop 45.6bn won (around $38.4m).

Contestants have to beat 455 other people to win the money while playing children’s games such as Red Light, Green Light – but the catch is if you lose, you die.

Squid Game, which is written and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk, premiered in September with nine episodes, following efforts by Netflix to offer more international programmes. The series is number one on the streaming service’s top 10 lists in 94 countries around the world.

Minyoung Kim, Netflix’s vice president of content for Korea, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand said: “When we first started investing in Korean series and films in 2015, we knew we wanted to make world-class stories for the core K-content fans across Asia and the world. Today, Squid Game has broken through beyond our wildest dreams.”

Netflix, which has 209 million customers globally, counts one view as watching at least two minutes.

Squid Game has been compared to other shows such as Black Mirror and The Hunger Games – but the director has said that his idea was developed in 2008 and was not influenced by these projects.

He said the concept was inspired by Japanese survival comics like Battle Royale, Liar Game: Reborn and Gambling Apocalypse: Kaiji.

The cast of “Squid Game” features some of South Korea’s biggest stars, including Lee Jung-jae as the protagonist, Seong Gi-hun, a hopelessly indebted father who receives a business card from a stranger offering him a way out.

The show has been applauded by some critics for addressing a problem that is particularly entrenched in South Korea: debt and the struggle to pay it off.

Musa Suleiman
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