Squid Game cost Netflix millions, but not as much as you'd expect

Compared to several other films and shows that Netflix has invested in previously, Squid Game's budget appears modest.


If it feels like Netflix's Squid Game has dominated the headlines lately, that's because it certainly has. Netflix's Korean drama has been a smash hit ever since it aired in September. The streaming giant even recently confirmed that it became the platform's biggest launch ever, displacing Bridgerton by a fair amount.

Squid Game is the result of Netflix's big gamble in South Korean entertainment years ago.

However, according to Bloomberg, Netflix only spent $21.4 million to acquire and shoot Squid Game.

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Netflix's $500 million South Korean investment is paying off

Don't expect the hype around Squid Game to fizzle out anytime soon. At this point, things are just getting started.

A few years ago, Netflix made the brave decision to invest $500 million to acquire exclusive South Korean films and movies for the platform. It doesn't take an expert to say just how much Netflix's risk-taking has paid off for it. Squid Game alone is proof of this.

At $21.4 million, Squid Game didn't come cheap. However, the series' total cost feels minuscule when you consider Netflix's other investments. For example, Bridgerton, the series that Squid Game displaced for the top spot, cost Netflix $7 million per episode, and it's not even the most expensive series on the platform. That distinction goes to The Crown, which Netflix spent $13 million per episode on followed by Stranger Things, with the fourth season coming soon, at $12 million per episode.

When you look at it from a purely economical standpoint, Squid Game is arguably Netflix's most lucrative investment to date.

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Netflix's simple and basic premise pairs perfectly with its script, production value, and the performance of its actors.

This kind of win is crucial for Netflix. The streaming platform currently finds itself struggling to maintain its viewership in the United States as it contends with several other streaming platforms such as Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video. On the flip side, Netflix's success when it comes to its South Korean investments might encourage other platforms to do the same, which suggests that Netflix might have just given its competitors an idea.

At the moment, there are reports that studios are looking at the possibility of making games inspired by Squid Game. If Netflix wants, they could do this themselves and make a video game adaptation. The platform already owns the IP and it's no secret that it wants to get into the video game space.

Of course, these are all hypotheticals and the fact remains that Netflix is one step ahead of other streaming platforms when it comes to supporting foreign media.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.