Hundreds of ‘Squid Game’ fans in desperate need of money competed for a real-life recreation of the dystopian hit Netflix series for a cash prize of $456,000.
Popular YouTuber MrBeast, with 76.4 million subscribers, said he spent $3.5 million on the extensive reenactment in which 456 contestants competed for the jackpot.
The social media star, whose real name is Jimmy Donaldson, said on Twitter that it cost him about $2 million to build and produce, while spending about $1.5 million in prices.
In addition to the six-figure first prize, Donaldson awarded $2,000 to each entrant and $10,000 to the runner-up.
The recreation included the same Korean children’s games played in “Squid Game” such as Red Light, Green Light, marbles, and tug of war – in huge sets that took weeks to complete.
But unlike the disturbing drama, no contestants were harmed.
Instead, players were rigged with “wireless explosives” full of fake blood that burst open when a player was eliminated.
In the tug of war and glass bridge challenges, losing contestants fell into a foam pit instead of plunging to their deaths.
But as it should be, the real “Squid Game” participants were seen in footage of the game shaking as they tried to carve shapes out of honeycomb in the “dalgona challenge”.
The “Squid Game” reenactment isn’t the first time Donaldson pulls an extravagant stunt for his YouTube channel.
Donaldson is known for offering outlandish prizes to his online followers who are willing to compete in absurd challenges, such as when contestants stood in a circle for 12 days for $500,000 in cash.
The social media sensation was the second highest paid YouTube star in 2020, earning about $24 million and racking up some 3 billion views, according to Forbes.
But his latest video has been met with harsh criticism from viewers berating Donaldson for reenacting a game about rich people exploiting the poor for their macabre viewing pleasure.
Other critics also noted the irony that Donaldson made ad revenue by creating a show that severely denounces capitalism.
The stunt video was released just a day after a smuggler selling copies of “Squid Game” in North Korea was sentenced to death by firing squad.