Have Viewers Rebelled Against Zack Synder’s “Rebel Moon” on Netflix?

Rebel Moon Part 1 Netflix views
Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire

After garnering a whole lot of hype since the initial announcement, Zack Synder’s latest sci-fi movie Rebel Moon seems to have fallen short of delivering impressive viewership numbers on Netflix.

Trigger Warning: This article mentions sexual assault near the end. Tread carefully.

Released on Netflix on December 21, 2023, Rebel Moon: Part One: A Child of Fire was being promoted as Synder’s take on the iconic Star Wars franchise, especially with how Snyder shared that TPTB rejected his Star Wars movie pitch. Not only that, but fans of Synder’s Justice League were also eager to support the movie. And with Rebel Moon Part One and RM Part Two boasting a joint production budget of approximately $166 million, you know Netflix was expecting big numbers.

However, all of the hype and anticipation failed to materialize into a resounding success upon the film’s release. It was immediately hit with poor critic reviews (as of writing this article, the movie sits at a devastating 24% on Rotten Tomatoes) along with not-so-great audience reviews (currently 60% on RT). In a way, the review scores wouldn’t matter if Synder’s latest flick brought in massive numbers for the streaming giant. And yet, unfortunately, it failed there, too.

Rebel Moon Part One debuted with only 23.9 million views on Netflix during the December 18 – December 24, 2023 window

I held off on writing something about the matter because I wanted to see how the movie would perform during its second week. Usually, certain Netflix fare experiences a huge bump as the days continue. Now, to be fair, Rebel Moon did see a bump in viewers, raising itself to 34 million for the December 25 – December 31, 2023 window, but those numbers still fell short of expectations.

The 10-day viewership numbers of Rebel Moon Part One are around 63 million. In comparison, the recent release Leave the World Behind has a 10-day viewership count of almost 87 million. That particular movie is in its 4th week of availability and it’s still No 2 on Netflix’s latest Global Top 10 English-Movie chart.

You can tell that Netflix and Snyder were ready to make Rebel Moon the next big sci-fi franchise with how the project was being handled. But the expected viewership numbers just didn’t come through. With Rebel Moon seemingly underperforming for the streamer, it will be interesting to see what type of numbers the upcoming sequel Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver attracts when it’s released on April 19, 2024.

The situation kind of reminded me of the recent Mission Impossible movie. Mission: Impossible 7: Dead Reckoning – Part One underperformed at the box office, prompting the studio to announce that the sequel wouldn’t be called Dead Reckoning – Part Two anymore.

I mean, I understand. How can you get audiences to be excited about Part 2 of a story when they don’t care about Part One? It’s kind of intriguing to see what the upcoming MI installment ends up being titled. It’s supposed to be released in May of 2025.

Anyway, coming back to Rebel Moon, in a sense, the real test for the movie is whether or not it manages to enter the list of Netflix’s most popular films of all time.

As of December 31, 2024, Red Notice sits at the top with a whopping 230.9 million views. Extraction 2 is at No. 10 with 134.9 million.

If you ask me, I highly doubt that a movie like Rebel Moon will be able to crack that list. But who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Certain fans have stated that the already announced extended R-rated Synder-cut of Rebel Moon will perform better than the PG-13 cut Netflix decided to debut first because that’s what the fans really wanted to see.

And at this point, all I can say to that particular notion is, “Sure, Jan.”

For those wondering, I did watch Rebel Moon and I found it to be quite “Meh!”

I get that slow-motion action is Snyder’s signature, but certain slow-motion shots felt unnecessary and took away from the urgency of the fight sequences. The story and the band of characters weren’t anything unique. We have seen such a narrative play out numerous times before.

Having said that, the acting was nice. And the movie did look pretty during certain instances. Snyder knows how to deliver an appealing screenshot.

However, I did feel that the 2 hours 16 minutes runtime was a bit too much and yet there’s still an extended cut out there that’s supposed to come out before RM Part 2! Like, why?

The narrative also had poor queer representation complete with sexual assault. At around the 49-minute mark, we have Kora (Sofia Boutella) and Gunnar (Michiel Huisman) enter a bar. While talking about what they need to do next, Gunnar’s approached by an ugly male alien who asks Kora if she’s willing to sell Gunner to him. Even after Gunnar and Kora tell the alien to leave, he persists and proceeds to grab Gunnar’s crotch. The camera pans down to make sure the audience doesn’t miss the alien’s action because that aggressive crotch-grabbing shot was just so important for the story.

Kora intervenes by threatening the alien’s life after throwing him on one of the tables. And though the alien leaves, the scene in the bar doesn’t end there. Nopes. The alien returns with reinforcements. A gunfight occurs inside the bar and the entire thing concludes with the alien getting fatally by Kai (Charlie Hunnam).

Sigh!

In a movie that doesn’t have a gay lead character in the ensemble cast, seeing the queerness be represented by a horrible alien who proceeded to get murdered made me roll my eyes. It’s yet another example of the Depraved Homosexual Trope that paints queerness as something predatory.

There’s no reason for such a depiction of queerness being a thing in a movie being released in freaking 2023. And again, it’s not as if the first Rebel Moon movie has a gay lead character to kind of balance it out.

Not only that but about 30 minutes in, the movie also has an instance of a bunch of evil soldiers preparing to sexually assault a female villager. The sequence lasts uncomfortably long before Kora shows up to stop them. 

I don’t want to imagine what the upcoming R-rated cut might include.

As far as my opinion goes, if you as a writer feel the need to add sexual assault to prompt characters to do something or have it serve as some kind of motivation in a freaking sci-fi movie, you should reconsider your choices. 

Did you watch Rebel Moon? Are you looking forward to the sequel?

Let us know.

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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