Over the past couple of weeks, we’ve been treated to two batches of Rebel Moon news. First, Netflix released a brand-new photo (seen above) of the upcoming sequel with its movie slate reveal for 2024. More recently, we received the age rating for the new movie. The age rating suggests that Netflix is certainly making a mistake by releasing the second movie in its current form.
Rebel Moon – Part One: A Child of Fire was Netflix’s big Christmas movie, debuting in very select theaters before its global Netflix release with a prime-time slot on December 22nd, 2023.
The MPA rating board confirmed last week that the sequel is once again rated PG-13. It’s received that rating for sequences of strong violence, brief, strong language, and suicide.
Given the first movie’s reception and performance, contrary to what you’d think by listening to a loud contingent on Twitter, and the fact there are reportedly superior versions of these movies in the pipeline, we think it’s a mistake for the franchise and for Netflix to release this second movie, at least in its current form.
This decision, we believe, may end up meaning the end for Rebel Moon.
Rebel Moon Charted Well But Didn’t Live Up To Expectations
Despite being seemingly pleased with the performance of the movie, as indicated by a detailed blog post on their internal Netflix blog, the first movie certainly didn’t meet the high expectations set for it, falling short when compared to Netflix’s biggest hits.
If you look at the chart below, comparing the first 10-day premieres of a slew of Netflix movies, you can see Rebel Moon falls behind titles like Luther: Fallen Sun, Me Time, Day Shift, Enola Holmes 2, and many others.
According to Netflix’s numbers, the movie charted globally for four weeks in total, racking up 165.10 million viewing hours, with a 67% drop in viewing hours in the third week and a further 65% drop in the fourth week, leading it to drop out of the Netflix top 10s altogether.
This quick decline and shaky debut extends to other metrics, including FlixPatrol numbers and external metrics such as Google Trends, which currently shows that interest in Rebel Moon is at the same level, if not lower, than before the first movie’s release.
The movie is by no means a flop. However, given the grand ambitions of Netflix and Zack Snyder, it’s not quite what one would hope for from the first movie when starting a huge new franchise.
The argument could be made that the viewership trajectory for Rebel Moon and other external metrics all follow a strong V-shape, a trend causing most streamers to reconsider producing movies for their platforms: Movies shine brightly in the first weekend and then quickly fade.
The Extended R-Rated Cuts Hang Over The Franchise’s Performance
A significant factor in why the movie isn’t even close to the top 10 of all time is the early announcement of “superior” R-rated extended editions of these movies and the need to wait for their release.
These versions, first announced to SlashFilm by a sound designer in an interview back in March 2023, loom over the current iterations of the movies like dark rain clouds, especially considering the reviews of the first movie. By all accounts, the fact that these versions are known to the public is a mistake and was essentially leaked out. When we, the public, were supposed to learn of these cuts of the movie is unclear.
Snyder, in an interview with the DGA’s Director’s Cut podcast, seemed to essentially blame Netflix for the initial movies not being as good as they should have been and could even be construed as advice to wait for the better cuts saying:
“In the summer , you’ll get to see what I originally pitched to them. And then you can pretend to be the studio executive and say, ‘Oh geez, I see what they mean. So that’s the full odyssey.’”
It’s no new suggestion that Netflix should have released the R-rated extended cut from the beginning. One could argue that Netflix is leaning into the Snyder cut, famously released for Justice League, but the circumstances for that movie and time were materially different, and this reasoning doesn’t hold up.
Netflix Should Scrap Part Two and Just Release The Snyder Cuts!
The first movie has been released; nothing can change that. However, Netflix could consider scrapping the second movie’s release and instead release both extended R-rated cuts either together or separately to fulfill the original promise made when the project was announced.
This may be the only chance for the franchise to secure a third installment, as there is no hope if the second part dips substantially lower than the first when it comes to viewership upon release.
Netflix needs franchises. To get them, they must give every movie its best chance of becoming a franchise. As it stands, they’re not helping Rebel Moon but arguably hindering it.
Rebel Moon — Part Two: The Scargiver is set to release on Netflix globally on April 19th, 2024, believed to be in its regular spot at 12 am PT, opting out of a prime-time premiere like Part One, at least according to Netflix’s Media Center.
Do you think Netflix should release the R-rated extended version of Rebel Moon first, or should they continue with their plans for Part Two as is? Let us know in the comments.