Zack Snyder may have been referenced in a cut “Barbie” joke, but he’s still laughing all the way to the streaming platforms.

The “Batman vs. Superman” director said during an appearance on the “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast in the below video that he estimates more people watched “Rebel Moon” than “Barbie” due to the Netflix viewership model. “Barbie” made $1.4 billion at the box office, cementing the Greta Gerwig-helmed film as the highest grossing movie ever released by Warner Bros., also where Snyder’s “Justice League” and other DC movies were distributed.

“Barbie” is Oscar-nominated ahead of Sunday’s 2024 Academy Awards; Snyder’s “Army of the Dead” and “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” are both listed as Oscar winners due to their fan-voted wins in 2022.

“You think about Netflix, for instance, where you push a button. ‘Rebel Moon,’ right? Say right now, it’s like almost 90 million views…80 or 90 million accounts turned it on, give or take,” Snyder said of “Rebel Moon” on Netflix. “They assume two viewers per screen, right? That’s the math…so that’s 160 million people supposedly watching. One-hundred and sixty million people at $10 a ticket, that’s $1.6 billion. So more people probably saw ‘Rebel Moon’ than saw ‘Barbie’ in the theater. That’s how crazy Netflix is — that’s the distribution model that they’ve set up.”

'Kung Fu Panda 4,' Chameleon (voice: Viola Davis), 2024. © Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Flying Lessons

Snyder’s original Netflix movie “Rebel Moon” was released in December 2023 and was panned by reviews. A sequel is set to drop in Spring 2024.

“That’s how crazy Netflix is,” Snyder continued. “That’s the distribution model that they’ve set up. I was at this thing the other day and we were talking about ‘Rebel Moon 2.’ And they were like, ‘Well, talk about “Rebel Moon” the first one.’ I’m like, ‘No, go fucking watch it. I know you have it at your house.’ It’s not like a theater situation. You could turn it on your phone right now and watch it right here if you wanted. That’s how crazy it is. This model, this machine, they’ve built is really something else. It’s really crazy if you think about it.”

Snyder added, “It’s a different model… you give the audience an alternative. Like what is ‘Rebel Moon’…that’s new IP, right? No one knows what the fuck that is. Some space thing, I guess. Well, let’s watch it. The barrier for entry is so low that it allows a lot more original and weirdo stuff to exist.”

Snyder isn’t exaggerating his film’s reach on Netflix — at least, not a lot.

“Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire” was Netflix’s top movie globally for the week of December 18, 2023 to December 24, 2023, with 23.9 million views. It was again no. 1 the following week, when it added 34 million more views.

In the first week of January, “Rebel Moon” was unseated by “The Equalizer 3.” The global runner-up tacked on another 11.8 million views. It dropped to eighth the next week with 3.9 million views. “Rebel Moon” has not made Netflix’s Global Top 10 since, so we don’t (yet) have viewership stats beyond that.

That means in just its first four weeks of availability, “Rebel Moon” amassed 73.6 million views, per Netflix.

During the podcast interview, Snyder also said that he “loved” Gerwig’s “Barbie” and referenced the cut joke that was about the toxic fandom of Snyder’s “Justice League” cut.

“That is a line in that movie, literally,” Snyder said. “And I’m like, that’s awesome. My wife was like, ‘That’s cool, right? That’s cool that they came after you.’ I was like, that’s 100 percent cool.”

“Rebel Moon” actress Sofia Boutella told Vulture that the poor reviews for the two-part space-set action movie “really affected” her.

“I feel like I’m carrying it for everybody that cared so much about this project, and that’s what affected me. Not the way I look. If anything, I’ve been pretty lucky and people like my work in it, but the movie was criticized,” Boutella said. “It really affected me for all of those who put so much heart, tears, and sweat in this project. It’s hard to see something being demolished to that extent. I’m proud to have been part of it, and if there is no more ‘Rebel Moon,’ it will be a very important part of my life that I will defend forever.”

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