Netflix rejigging Squid Game to cut phone number after prank calls

That all-important phone number the players dial? Don't call it.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
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Squid Game Netflix
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Squid Game Netflix

Squid Game is a huge hit on Netflix.


You can call Squid Game a lot of things, but don't call the number seen in the show. Netflix is set to edit scene's showing a crucial phone number on the devilish Squid Game recruiter's business card -- because it's a real number and fans kept  calling.

Netflix has said the stylishly unsettling South Korean drama is on track to be its most popular show ever. The series premiered Sept. 17 and has been a global hit, even igniting a fascinating debate over subtitles and translation and stirring talk about Emmy Award possibilities. The level of popularity may have been a surprise for Netflix, but it must have really baffled anyone who started getting weird calls.

The hit drama series features a succession of financially desperate folks given a card by a mysterious man. One side bears a circle, triangle and square symbols while the back has a phone number, which the characters call to get into the game. Of course, that's where their troubles really start -- but if the Squid Game players have it bad, spare a thought for the real people who have that actual number.

The production team apparently used a real phone number, reportedly thinking that if they left off the area code, it would be fine. However, calls from within the same area automatically connected anyway. The Korea Times reports that the owner of the number had so many calls and texts day and night asking to join the game that the phone battery kept dying. 

The Hollywood Reporter reports that Netflix and Siren Pictures will edit the show. At the time of writing, the number is still visible in episodes 1 and 2. 

Series creator Hwang Dong-hyuk developed the idea for a decade before Netflix picked it up, and has already dropped hints about season 2 after the dramatic ending to the nine-episode season 1. Whether or not there's more to come, the show was perfectly timed to inspire your Squid Game Halloween costume this year.

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