In one word: Yes. The creator of Squid Game, Hwang Dong-hyuk is now very rich thanks to the show‘s mind-blowing success. But just how rich? And what does Squid Game‘s financial windfall mean for its creator, cast, and Netflix? As an entertainment analyst, I‘ll walk you through all the numbers, so you can fully appreciate just how insanely profitable this series has been.
From Debt to Riches: Hwang Dong-hyuk‘s Come-Up Story
It‘s the kind of rags-to-riches story that feels straight out of a movie. Hwang Dong-hyuk first conceived Squid Game in 2008, after reading survival manga like Battle Royale and Liar Game. He was broke at the time, even forced to sell his $675 laptop for cash.
Fast forward to today, and Hwang‘s net worth has soared to around $30 million from Squid Game alone. Talk about a glow up! Here‘s a quick look at his financial rise:
- 2008: Idea for Squid Game born. Hwang is near broke.
- 2021: Squid Game released. Hwang earns $27 million from season 1.
- 2022: Hwang‘s estimated net worth is $30 million+
This massive increase in personal wealth is no surprise, considering Squid Game‘s sheer popularity. But just how big has the show gotten? Let‘s analyze the numbers.
Squid Game‘s Insane Viewership Stats
Within just 17 days of release, Squid Game was watched by a staggering 142 million Netflix households globally. To put that in perspective, it took the previous record holder, Bridgerton, over 28 days to reach 82 million households.
Here are some more viewership figures that highlight just how huge Squid Game is:
- 44.2% of Squid Game‘s viewers are from the U.S. and Canada
- 10.7% are from South Korea, where the show is set
- The remaining 45.1% of viewers come from outside North America and Korea
Squid Game has topped Netflix‘s daily charts in 94 countries thus far. All this makes it Netflix’s biggest original series launch ever.
But raw viewership numbers only tell part of the story. Let‘s look at how those eyeballs translate into cold, hard cash.
Squid Game‘s Staggering Financial Value
Simply put, Squid Game is a cash cow – and that‘s an understatement. According to Bloomberg analysis, the show was worth a staggering $891 million in impact value for Netflix within its first month.
The metric Netflix uses, impact value, accounts for projected membership growth and retention thanks to a hit show. But $891 million from just one month of a show‘s release is virtually unheard of.
Here‘s how Squid Game‘s impact value stacks up against other Netflix mega-hits:
|Squid Game||$891 million (in 1 month)|
|Stranger Things 3||$586 million (in 1 month)|
|The Witcher||$453 million (in 1 month)|
|13 Reasons Why||$486 million (in 1 month)|
And keep in mind, this doesn‘t even account for secondary revenues like merchandising, music, or potential franchise development. One analyst estimates Squid Game will ultimately be worth around $1.2 billion for Netflix.
For context on just how staggering that number is, HBO‘s Game of Thrones reached $1 billion over its entire multi-year, multi-season run. Squid Game did it within months.
Now you can see why Hwang Dong-hyuk went from near-broke to fabulously wealthy seemingly overnight! But he‘s far from the only Squid Game team member to hit the jackpot…
Squid Game Cast Salaries Are No Joke
Squid Game‘s incredible success is paying dividends for its cast too. Let‘s look at how the core cast‘s earnings have exploded:
- Lee Jung-jae (Player 456): Earned $27 million from season 1. Net worth jumped from ~$7 million to $30+ million.
- Park Hae-soo (Player 218): Earned ~$100-300K for season 1. Significant boost to career and star power.
- HoYeon Jung (Player 067): Rocketed from obscurity to global fame. Brand deals earned her $1.5 million already.
Lee Jung-jae‘s massive payday puts him in elite company. For season two, he‘s expected to earn over $30 million, on par with top Hollywood TV stars like Kit Harington in Game of Thrones.
Other adult cast members are likely to earn $300,000 – $1 million per episode in season two. In other words, anyone with significant screen time stands to earn life-changing money from Squid Game mania.
But perhaps no one is profiting more from this global phenomenon than Netflix itself. Let‘s discuss why Squid Game is such a game-changer for the streaming giant.
Why Squid Game Is a Total Game-Changer for Netflix
Squid Game cost Netflix just $21.4 million to produce. With a return on investment (ROI) of over 40x already, that‘s an incredible bargain. This proves that Netflix‘s heavy investments in foreign content can pay off big time.
In 2021 alone, Netflix spent $500 million on original Korean shows and movies. But the benefits of Squid Game go way beyond direct revenues:
- Massive subscriber growth in Asia and across the globe
- Proof that non-English content can achieve unprecedented popularity
- Increased negotiating leverage for foreign talent deals
- Validation of Netflix‘s international content strategy
Simply put, Squid Game is a masterclass in how to produce locally-rooted global entertainment. The show resonates across cultures because its themes around economic strife are universal.
Squid Game‘s influence will be felt across the industry for years to come. Its success paves the way for more big-budget foreign content. Hwang Dong-hyuk and his team have raised the bar for international TV to new heights.
Of course, the journey is just beginning. Let‘s take a quick look at what the future may hold.
What‘s Next for the Squid Game Franchise?
As of now, a second season of Squid Game is in development. Though plot details are scant, Hwang promises even more shocking twists and turns. Given the first season‘s cliffhanger ending, fans worldwide are already speculating about what‘s next.
Beyond season two, the sky‘s the limit for the Squid Game universe. A prequel series exploring the game‘s origins is not out of the question. Netflix is also doubling down on interactive content, as evidenced by its upcoming reality show inspired by Squid Game.
Personally, I can‘t wait to see the next chapters unfold. The mix of social commentary, unpredictable storytelling, and sheer entertainment value in Squid Game is masterful. For creator Hwang Dong-hyuk and the show‘s cast, this is sure to be just the beginning of an incredibly lucrative journey.
Well, there you have it! I hope this breakdown gave you a better grasp of Squid Game‘s financial windfall and cultural impact. In the modern streaming era, shows can transform careers virtually overnight – and Squid Game is no exception. Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat more about the entertainment industry and this record-smashing series.