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Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon achieves big opening numbers for Netflix – but industry experts have their doubts

Writer and director Zack Snyder said he was ‘thrilled’ by the film’s success

Roisin O'Connor
Thursday 28 December 2023 19:30 GMT
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Rebel Moon: Part One – A Child of Fire trailer

Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire has achieved impressive numbers in its first week after debuting on Netflix, but critics and industry experts are still expressing doubts about the new franchise.

The streaming giant announced earlier this week that the sci-fi fantasy film had become the most-viewed title after its release on 21 December, generating 23.9 million views in just three days.

Starring Sofia Boutella, Djimon Hounsou, Ed Skrein, Charlie Hunnam, Anthony Hopkins and Michiel Huisman, Rebel Moon follows an army of warriors taking on a military government threatening a farming colony on the moon.

“It’s been a truly unparalleled experience introducing Rebel Moon to global audiences and I’m thrilled that the movie is [No 1] around the world,” writer and director Snyder said in a statement, after the film’s first-week numbers were released.

“We have the most dedicated and loyal fans across the world that any filmmaker could ask for, and seeing them consistently be supportive has been an enormously rewarding experience.”

Despite a lack of A-list star-power, Rebel Moon has managed to drum up considerable fan interest thanks to Snyder’s work on DC superhero films including the Justice League franchise, Man of Steel, and Batman v Superman.

Zack Snyder with Sofia Boutella (AP)

Netflix has also gone heavy on international marketing, with a four-day takeover of the Nationaltheatret Station in Oslo, Norway, and a first-of-its-kind drone show at the Las Vegas Sphere, featuring a 3D scene of character Jimmy.

A series of “moon takeovers” were also staged in locations around the world, including the Tower Bridge in London and the Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan.

Following Rebel Moon, the Obamas-produced sci-fi drama Leave the World Behind – starring Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke and Mahershala Ali – attracted 19.7 million views in the past seven days.

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Despite its first-week success, Rebel Moon has received a deluge of negative reviews from critics, including The Independent, who called it “a borderline incoherent shambles” in its one-star review.

(Netflix)

And The Wrap observed that its opening numbers still fell short of debuts for other Netflix original films.

Leave the World Behind opened at 41.7 million views in its first week, while Adam Sandler’s children’s comedy Leo opened at 34.6 million views.

Business publication Forbes also warned that the movie would also suffer because of Netflix’s decision to hold back the director’s cut, in order to fuel further interest among Snyder’s fanbase.

Snyder has been vocal about there being an existence of an extended “R-rated” cut of the film that is not suitable for younger viewers, claiming it is almost like a “different movie”.

“The R-rated version, the Snyder cut, ‘the extended cut’, as we’re supposed to call it, has the potential to be something seminal for the older generation,” Skrein told The Hollywood Reporter in a recent interview.

“Knowing what we shot for the R-rated version, Zack and Netflix did an incredible job of putting together the PG-13 version. So it was always an interesting proposition to see what they did with the PG-13 cut, and I was really pleased.”

The Rebel Moon saga will continue with Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver, due to release on 19 April 2024.

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