Remembering Rebel Moon

Remembering Rebel Moon — Zack Snyder’s film by numbers

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It came, it created a lot of interest, then it faded away. In Remembering Rebel Moon, we look at how reality can triumph over enthusiasm

It was hard to ignore the Netflix publicity for Zack Snyder’s two-part space epic Rebel Moon. We brought you this handy guide to the first instalment, A Child of Fire and sat down to enjoy. Let’s just say it’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time.

It’s fair to say on a first watch, we didn’t get to the end. We thought it might just be us, but a quick venture onto the web proved otherwise. Taking Rotten Tomatoes as a convenient yardstick, we found a dismal 23% critic score, and a mere 58% for the audience.

Reviews are one thing, but Netflix is a business — what’s the business impact looking like?

Rebel Moon Part One - A Child of Fire

Remembering Rebel Moon — the audience reaction

Netflix was keen to trumpet a successful launch with: ‘Rebel Moon’ Soars to #1 Worldwide, Exciting Fans with Immersive Trailer Experience, Moon Takeovers and Special Screenings. Looking at the numbers, the opening week (December 18-24) shows the film at #1 with nearly 24 million views.

Case proven, perhaps, but we at Cultbox like digging around the data, and would point out the numbers for Leave the World Behind. Released two weeks earlier, the Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke film pulled in an audience of over 41 million views, rising to nearly 45 million in the second week.

Here’s the week by week for Snyder’s film:

Week Number of  Views Top 10 position
1 23,900,000 #1
2 34,000,000 #1
3 11,100,000 #2
4 3,900,000 #8

By any metric these are not stellar numbers. Films often fall out of the Top 10 in a few weeks (Leave the World Behind took a week longer), but Rebel Moon Part One never reached the stellar heights it seemed to aim for, nor has it garnered much more in the way of attention from Netflix. If you check the Netflix TUDUM site (their behind the scenes blog) then (as of the time of writing) the Featured Films are: The Pale Blue Eye, Glass Onion, Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas, Enola Holmes 2, The Gray Man and The Adam Project. No mention for Rebel Moon.

Clearly there’s been a failure of expectation and marketing to match demand. People can make their own judgment on quality — we reflect on the display stands we had in HMV shops in the UK, hoping to sell Rebel Moon merch alongside Wednesday and Stranger Things. It’s hard not to wonder if it were worth it.

What next?

In the next year we have a director’s cut (an hour longer we hear!) for Rebel Moon: A Child of Fire, and there’s part two The Scargiver. It may all be transformed by the autumn, and we’ll be covering the creation of a new franchise. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, here’s the trailer for the second instalment: