Netflix announced today that a record-setting 62 million households chose to watch The Queen’s Gambit in its first 28 days, making it its biggest scripted limited series to date. The announcement was made by Peter Friedlander, Netflix’s VP of Original Series.
“Three years ago when Scott Frank (Godless) first approached us about adapting The Queen’s Gambit – Walter Tevis’ 1983 book about a young chess prodigy – we felt it was a compelling tale,” said Friedlander.
“Beth is an underdog who faces addiction, loss and abandonment. Her success — against the odds — speaks to the importance of perseverance, family, and finding, and staying true to, yourself.
“However, I don’t think any of us could have predicted that The Queen’s Gambit — and the extraordinary Anya Taylor-Joy — would become the global phenomena they are today, or our biggest limited scripted series ever.
He says that since launching on Netflix in October, The Queen’s Gambit novel (check price at Amazon) is now on The New York Times bestseller list – 37 years after its release. Google search queries for chess have also doubled while searches for “how to play chess” have hit a nine-year peak.
Friedlander added that conversation around the show has also led to significantly higher interest in next year’s World Championship, according to the International Chess Federation.
The global reach of The Queen’s Gambit has been extraordinary – from Russia and Hong Kong, to France, Taiwan and Australia. In fact, the show made the Top 10 in 92 countries and ranked No. 1 in 63 countries, including the UK, Argentina, Israel, and South Africa.
“It’s a true testament to Scott’s skill as a writer and filmmaker that he was able to bring the drama and detail of the many chess matches to life on camera – generating rave reviews and a rare 100% on Rotten Tomatoes,” said Friedlander.
“Scott also had tremendous help from the series’ talented crafts team,” he added.
“Costume designer Gabriele Binder’s exquisite use of checkerboard patterns in Beth’s wardrobe, composer Carlos Rafael Rivera’s suspenseful score, editor Michelle Tesoro’s gripping montages, production designer Uli Hanisch’s vibrant choices that pop off the screen in every scene, and cinematographer Steven Meizler, whose work transformed every match into heart-pounding drama.”
The Queen’s Gambit is a seven-episode limited series, which debuted October 23 on Netflix. Two-time Academy Award nominee Scott Frank (Godless) serves as co-creator, executive producer, writer, director and showrunner. The executive producers are William Horberg (Friedlander) and Allan Scott (Don’t Look Now), who is also a co-creator.
The Queen’s Gambit stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Marielle Heller, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram, Harry Melling and Bill Camp.
Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, the Netflix limited series drama The Queen’s Gambit is a coming-of-age story that explores the true cost of genius. Abandoned and entrusted to a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s, a young Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy) discovers an astonishing talent for chess while developing an addiction to tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children.
Haunted by her personal demons and fueled by a cocktail of narcotics and obsession, Beth transforms into an impressively skilled and glamorous outcast while determined to conquer the traditional boundaries established in the male-dominated world of competitive chess.