What was the biggest movie of 2023? It all depends how you measure it. In terms of box-office performance, the biggest movie of the year was Barbie with \$1.4 billion in worldwide grosses.

But Zack Snyder says that’s just one way of looking at things. If you look at pure viewers, he said in a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, “more people probably” saw his recent Netflix film Rebel Moon — Part One: A Child of Fire.

“Say right now [Rebel Moon is] almost at 90 million views,” Snyder explained. “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 160,000,000 people supposedly watching based on that math. 160,000,000 people at \$10 a ticket would be…what is that math? I don’t know. 160,000,000 times ten. That’s 1.6 billion. So more people probably saw Rebel Moon than saw Barbie in the theater, right?”

Snyder may well be right about that math. Then again, it’s tough to vet Netflix’s viewership numbers. And even if you assume the numbers are accurate, how do you know people actually watched the darn thing? How do you know they didn’t turn off the film after 10 minutes? How do you know they didn’t fall asleep midway through? How do you know they didn’t leave their TV on but stop paying attention and start playing Monopoly Go?

Snyder even says Netflix “assumes” two viewers per screening. How can you make that assumption? Unless I’m watching something like Is It Cake? with my kids, I mostly watch films by myself on Netflix after the rest of the family is asleep. If you’re assuming I’m watching movies on Netflix with a bunch of people, your math is going to way off most of the time.

Then there’s the not-inconsequential matter of conflating 160 million sampling Rebel Moon on Netflix (where most people already have a subscription prior to the film) with \$1.4 billion worth of ticket buyers making the willful choice to spend their \$10 or more on tickets to Barbie. It seems weird to compare those two things.

Of course, Snyder’s not done with Rebel Moon. The second part of the film, The Scargiver, is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on April 19. So he has a chance to have the most-watched film two years in a row, at least from a certain point of view. You can watch Snyder’s full appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience below.

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[H/T Variety]