What Is The ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ Prize?

In the hit series Squid Game, 456 destitute individuals take part in a contest in which they play a series of children’s games in order to win big money — or die. Given the series’ dark premise, and its unrelenting violence, that it became the biggest show on Netflix when it first dropped in the fall of 2021 was a bit of a surprise. Even more shocking? When Netflix announced that it was creating Squid Game: The Challenge, a reality show based on the series, and launched an open casting call.

Unlike the Netflix narrative series, the losers of Squid Game: The Challenge presumably won’t perish — though the first day of filming earlier this week brought with it some headlines about unsafe working conditions and at least one serious on-set injury, which representatives for Netflix denied. Still, like the fictional version of the show, there’s one very big reason contestants are taking part at all: money. In the case of The Challenge, a total of 456 individuals will compete for one of the biggest monetary prizes any reality competition has ever offered: $4.56 million. All they have to do is survive a few rounds of Red Light, Green Light to get it.

While Squid Game: The Challenge has faced criticism from the get-go, original series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk sees it as an opportunity to carry the show’s important, albeit dark, themes about the dangers of capitalism and class disparity over into the real world.

“I think that even though our show does carry quite a heavy message — and I know that there are some concerns on taking that message and creating it into a reality show with a cash prize — I feel like when you take things too seriously, that’s really not the best way to go for the entertainment industry,” Dong-hyuk said backstage at the Emmys in September. “It doesn’t really set a great precedent.”

“So, I would say that reproductions of such efforts are going to bring new meaning to the industry,” he continued, “and I hope that this is going to be a great new direction for the industry overall.”

(Via TV Line)