Squid game is big money game

September 29, 2021 10:51
Photo: Reuters/Netlfix

Raise your hand if you have not watched Squid Game and you have been asked the same question 10 times in the past week.

The Korean survivor series has quickly snapped up global audience in what Netflix co-chief executive officer Ted Sarandos described as having “a very good chance to be our biggest show ever”.

Since launching on 17 September, Squid Game has become such a sensation everywhere - so much so that it has taken over “have you eaten?” as the dialogue opener among friends.

Much like The Queen's Gambit, the most popular Netflix drama series last year, Squid Game was the first non-English series that made to the global No.1 hit in just four days.

For a week, the Canto-pop boy band Mirror was overtaken by the Korean series briefly in the social media scene.

The success did not go unnoticed by the investment community. Smart money piled on stocks of Bucket Studio, an agent to main actor Lee Jung-Jae, pushing up its share prices by 70 percent in three trading days.

Production sector plays also gained. Siren Pictures, for example, surged on optimism that K-drama will take on the world again.

The plot of Squid Game might not be that original. Observers said Squid Game is similar to a couple of Japanese titles such as “As The Gods Will” and "Kaiji: Ultimate Survivor" except it is a well-executed nine-episode production.

The timing, however, is perfect. It came amid the pandemic which suspended most people desire to travel as they looked for some fun and excitement while sticking at home.

The show began with 456 people struggling financially being invited to play a mysterious survival competition. The competition is made up of six rounds of Korea traditional children games, but with deadly twists. One of them is “Red Light, Green Light”, also known as “Grandmother’s footsteps.”

Without revealing more details, winner(s) of the game would get 45.6 billion won (US$38.5 million) but along the road to victory are challenges and tough choices participants have to make.

Squid Game is definitely catching on with Hong Kong people, as reflected in mushrooming marketing content based on trend jacking the show.

Keep them coming. We need fun games to survive.


EJ Insight writer