Rebel Moon | 160 million people saw it according to Zack Snyder’s maths

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According to director Zack Snyder’s maths, his Netflix sci-fi film Rebel Moon was seen more often than Barbie, with “160 million people” watching.

Last year’s blockbuster conversation was dominated by Barbie and Oppenheimer, but by rights, we ought to be throwing Rebel Moon into the mix.

According to director Zack Snyder’s calculations, 160 million people streamed part one of his sci-fi fantasy, subtitled A Child Of Fire, last year. He then reasons that, if those numbers were converted to ticket sales, then Rebel Moon would have outsold Barbie in cinemas.

Here’s what Snyder said on Joe Rogan’s podcast, as picked up by Variety:

“You think about Netflix, for instance, where you push a button,” Snyder said at a somewhat caffeinated pace. “Rebel Moon, right? Say right now it’s almost at 90 million views, right? 80 or 90 million accounts turned it on, give or take. They assume two viewers per screening, right? That’s the kind of math. So you think if that movie was in the theater as a distribution model, that’s like 160 million people supposedly watching based on that math.”

Snyder then ran the numbers in his head, and concluded that those numbers converted to ticket sales would have equalled $1.6 billion – more than Barbie's box office take of $1.446 billion, thus making it the biggest film of 2023:

“160 million people at $10 a ticket would be…what is that math? I don’t know,” Snyder continued. “160 million times ten. That’s 1.6 billion. So more people probably saw Rebel Moon than saw Barbie in the theatre, right?”

In fairness to Snyder, his numbers appear to be intended to illustrate the scale of Netflix’s reach rather than to literally argue that Rebel Moon was some sort of secret cultural phenomenon. Even so, it’s a rather generous, even jazzy bit of maths on Snyder’s part.

Read more: Rebel Moon – Part One: Child Of Fire review | Zack Snyder does Star Wars

Netflix has tended to be a bit secretive about its numbers and how they’re calculated, but it was revealed in June 2023 that the streaming giant had switched metrics from “hours viewed” to simple “views” – in other words, the metric Snyder mentioned above.

This figure is calculated by dividing the number of hours a film or show has been viewed by the duration of that film/show – so looking at Netflix’s own site, we can see that in its first week of release, Rebel Moon was watched for a total of 54.1 million hours. Divide that by its two hour, 16 minute duration, and you have 23.9 million views in its first week.

Unless we’re missing something, we can’t find anything publicly available that says Netflix assumes that each of those views can be counted as an average of two people sitting in front of the television, though it’s possible that Snyder’s privy to some internal information that the rest of us aren’t.

As for converting those millions of views to ticket sales… well, that’s a bit like me saying that if blog posts were £50 notes then I’d be richer than Jeff Bezos.

Rebel Moon: Part 2 – The Scargiver streams on Netflix from the 19th April. It will be watched by 7.6 billion people worldwide and will usher in a new era of peace and spiritual harmony.

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