Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ rises in popularity, hits No. 1 in 22 countries

Netflix’s new series “Squid Game,” starring Lee Jung-jae and Park Hae-soo, is now the No. 1 show on Netflix in 22 countries and territories.

“Squid Game,” released on Sept. 17, is now No. 1 in the US on Netflix, according to streaming analytics website FlixPatrol. From No. 10 in the US last Sept. 18, the series rose to No. 5 on Sept. 19, No. 2 on Sept. 20 and finally No. 1 on Sept. 21.

Lee Sung-jae and Park Hae-soo in “Squid Game” (Netflix Korea)

As of Sept. 21, “Squid Game” is also No. 1 among top 10 shows on Netflix in Bolivia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Oman, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.

It is also No. 2 in 50 countries and territories. Overall, “Squid Game” is No. 2 among top 10 shows on Netflix, according to FlixPatrol.

“Squid Game” tells the story of 456 people who participate in a mysterious survival game with a 45.6 billion won ($38.5 million) prize at stake.

Lee Jung-jae, who plays the role of debt-ridden chauffeur Seong Ki-hun, said during an online press conference for the show that “as I read through the scenario, I found the changes in emotions and personality of individual characters in an extreme situation captivating,” the Korea Herald reported.

“Ki-hun was an interesting character to play. Though he faces countless struggles in his life, Ki-hun is very optimistic and humorous, and able to make friends in a life-threatening survival game. I was surprised to see how I portrayed Ki-hun,” he said. Lee Jung-jae’s acting credits include the films “Along with the Gods” and “Assassination.

Park Hae-soo, who starred in the drama “Prison Playbook,” said, “When I participated in the game Red Light, Green Light as Sang-woo, Ki-hun’s childhood friend, the drama set was filled with all contestants. However, as I watched people die after fierce competition, I was left with many things to think about.”

Director Hwang Dong-hyuk said, “After debuting with ‘My Father,’ I read a lot of comics and was mesmerized by survival games. With an attempt to create a Korean version, I started planning out the work in 2008 and finished the scenario in 2009.”

He added, “However, casting actors and getting investment were extremely difficult during these periods. The idea of a game winner who strikes it rich was unwelcomed. The brutality and cruelty of the games were of concern. I had to put the scenario on the shelf. Unlike 2009, many people were fascinated by the script and I decided to expand the original scenario to shoot a Netflix series.”

Before “Squid Game” was released, the series “D.P.,” starring Jung Hae-in and Koo Kyo-hwan, created buzz for its depiction of abuse and violence in the Korean military service.