Zack Snyder’s newest project for Netflix is so big that it’s going to require two movies to tell the whole story, and those two movies are already slated to get Director’s Cuts by Snyder. If you’ve seen the Rebel Moon trailer then you know that the film is a massive science fiction epic full of alien creatures, starships, and more that (given Snyder’s flare for visual storytelling) would look absolutely amazing on the big screen. This is why it’s really frustrating that we aren't going to be given that chance.
The Fall Netflix Movie Schedule has been released by the streamer, which includes all the release dates for its big original movies, both on the streaming service and, where applicable, in theaters. In order to be considered for many year-end awards, films need at least a limited theatrical run. So several of the projects Netflix thinks may be in contention, like David Fincher’s The Killer, will get a theatrical release, but Rebel Moon will not.
It’s perhaps understandable if Netflix doesn’t see Rebel Moon as a major awards contender, though a December release alone for a major sci-fi movie could significantly help its chances for some technical awards if nothing else. Still, it feels like this is a case of leaving potentially big money on the table. Glass Onion previously showed what even a significantly trimmed-down theatrical release can do for a popular movie.
And Glass Onion is perhaps a perfect template for how a theatrical run could work. Even if Rebel Moon was only in a limited number of theaters for a week, as Glass Onion was, the serious fans looking forward to seeing it would show up in theaters and give Netflix a nice financial boost. Everybody else can wait a month until the film arrives on the streaming service.
Even Netflix admits Glass Onion could have made a lot more money in theaters, but the streamer claims that it ultimately is focused on streaming success, not box office success. Still Glass Onion was still one of the most watched movies of all time on Netflix, so the theatrical run didn’t seem to hurt the streaming service. There’s every reason to believe Rebel Moon will do just as well.
There’s still hope for some sort of theatrical exhibition. Even if the first part of Rebel Moon doesn’t hit theaters, if the movie is successful enough on Netflix, and fans call for it, we could still see the second part hit theaters next April when it is released. We could even see both parts get a theatrical run together next year if it seemed such a thing was worth it for Netflix. I’m sure both parts of Rebel Moon, will still look great on Netflix, I have a nice big TV, but it’s still not as big as a theater screen.