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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Money Heist success story: Tagged as flop after first season, show was rescued by Netflix and resurrected by fans

Ahead of Money Heist 5, we look back its journey from being a failure to a global success. The Netflix show will release its finale season 's part one on September 3.

Written by Mimansa Shekhar | New Delhi |
Updated: September 1, 2021 1:16:42 am
money heist success story dali masksNetflix acquired streaming rights of La Casa De Papel and released it as Money Heist in 2017. (Photo: Netflix)

Money Heist is a global phenomenon today. But what if I tell you it was a complete washout when it first debuted on screens? Money Heist is a show resurrected completely by fans. After Netflix acquired it, the streaming service infused new life into the show that initially could not go beyond its borders.

Gearing up for its fifth and final season, Money Heist stands among the most viewed shows in the world today. Ahead of its upcoming two-part finale, we trace its journey from being a failure to a global success.

Money Heist premiered on Spanish TV channel Antena 3 in 2017 as La Casa De Papel. Intended to be a two-part 15-episode long finite series, it entered the arena amid high expectations and garnered an astounding 4.3 million views. But soon enough, the show’s audience dropped drastically, so much so that its creator Álex Pina and executive producer Jesús Colmenar considered pulling the plug on it. Writer Javier Gómez Santander tagged the series a flop, calling it “story of a failure”.

money heist netflix stills professor tokyo Money Heist revolves around a gang of robbers who undertake near-impossible robberies under the supervision of the mastermind, The Professor. (Photo: Netflix)

In the documentary ‘The Phenomenon’, the cast and crew share how they parted ways not expecting to return to the sets of La Casa De Papel. The hard work that they put in somehow couldn’t resonate with the Spanish audience.

After its season two wrapped up, Netflix acquired its global streaming rights. They cut the series to smaller 22 episodes and added it to its international catalogue without any promotion, naming it ‘Money Heist’ in English. Soon enough the actors noticed a surge in their followers from across the globe on Instagram, which started increasing by leaps and bounds every hour. From flags to tattoos, there were news about fans going crazy after the newly discovered show on the streaming giant.

It took Money Heist no time to climb at the second spot on IMDb ranking of Most Popular TV Shows in the world. The team even won an Emmy for Best Drama Series in 2018. Even celebrities started talking about it on social media – from football players Neymar and Marc Bartra, American singer Romeo Santos, to writer Stephen King. Neymar even went on to do a cameo in its season 3 later.

In the meantime, the red jumpsuits and Salvador Dali masks became symbols of political rallies and protests at various countries in America, Europe and Asia including France, Lebanon, Iraq and Chile. Its musical centrepiece, Italian anti-fascist song “Bella Ciao” has thousands of versions on the internet today, across languages.

money heist viral photo cast wrapNetflix announced the wrap up of Money Heist production with a candid click of the cast in May 2021. (Photo: Instagram/lacasadepapel)

Netflix called in the showrunners and renewed the series for its new season with an exorbitant budget. The makers took two months to say a yes and come up with a convincing plot going forward. For a show which never left Madrid in its initial seasons, travelled to locations beyond Spain in the following ones, like Panama, Thailand and Italy.

Today, Money Heist is among Netflix’s most watched content, including countries as diverse as France, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Portugal. It’s a massive success in North Africa, Middle East and Turkey. In short, Money Heist holds the place of being one among the most watched shows around the world. It’s a phenomenon today, holding an IMDb rating of 8.3.

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