Making Red Notice was a long road. For Netflix, they bet big on their latest release. With Dwayne Johnson, Gal Gadot, and Ryan Reynolds all starring in an action-comedy for the streaming service, it seems likely that they expected to see Red Notice hit the number one spot on their Most Watched charts. They weren’t disappointed. Now that the movie is finally on streaming, fans are ready to see what Dwayne Johnson has been promising them all this time. So is Red Notice living up to the hype? And what is the movie about anyway? Let’s dive in.
The story for Red Notice follows three main characters. The roles for the actors play up a lot of what fans expect to see from each of them. Dwayne Johnson is FBI Agent John Hartley. He tracks down Nolan Booth, played by Ryan Reynolds, a renowned art thief, and a wise guy. The agent makes a deal with the thief: I won’t arrest you as long as you help me catch an even bigger thief. The bigger thief turns out to be Gal Gadot’s character, who is so famous that she goes by a nickname, The Bishop. Gadot gets to wear a red dress and participate in big fight scenes where she takes on both of the guys at once. Predictably, Dwayne Johnson is a tough guy agent, and Ryan Reynolds hurts himself and seems unsure of what to do in the situation, providing comedic relief to the fight scenes.
The movie was first released in theaters for a limited run, opening in under a thousand theaters in the United States. Its November 5, 2021 opening weekend brought home a little over $1 million. However, the Dwayne Johnson movie wasn’t ever meant to do all that well in theaters, its commercial success will be judged on how well it does on streaming. Typically, Netflix will give viewer rating numbers on how well a new project did during its first 28 days on the streaming service, and that’s it. Audiences can see what’s in the top slots on their Most Watched charts, which are regularly updated. Netflix really doesn’t give up all that much information. Usually.
With Red Notice, Ryan Reynolds surprised his fans when he reported that the movie saw the biggest opening day on Netflix ever. He didn’t share any information on what those numbers were, so it’s to be taken as read.
Early reviews of Red Notice were not kind. Critics called the film predictable, boring, and not worth the time of its audience. The movie currently holds a 39% score with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, which isn’t great. However, audiences have now seen the movie on Netflix, and they feel differently. The audience score for the Dwayne Johnson action comedy has gone up to 93%. This appears to be one of the movies where critics and audiences disagree.
The high streaming numbers and warm reception from audiences for Red Notice is a good thing for the streaming service, who went in on this project with a ridiculously high budget. They reportedly spent $200 million total on the action-comedy. Part of that budget could be explained by the film’s many locations. The international story takes place around the world. A significant portion of that budget went to the three main actors, who each took home $20 million. Dwayne Johnson took home additional fees, as he also services as a producer on the movie.
The project was originally picked up by Universal, which likely would have meant a traditional movie-theater-only release. Ultimately, Netflix won the rights to the movie after Universal hesitated on some of the terms. Filming began on the project toward the beginning of 2020. Naturally, this led to production delays when filming was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming eventually resumed. Netflix, Dwayne Johnson, and his co-stars all spent nearly a year hyping up the movie with featurettes and social media posts. Red Notice was a long time coming for fans, so it makes sense that they’re jumping at the opportunity to finally check it out.
Already, audiences are eager to find out if a Red Notice 2 is in the works. So far, nothing has been confirmed. The success of the movie would certainly hint at a sequel. Dwayne Johnson is no stranger to franchises. He’s signed on for more Jumanji movies, Hobbs & Shaw 2, and while he’s currently only in one DC movie as Black Adam, fans expect he has a long future as the antihero ahead of him. As the FBI agent, it’s possible that Dwayne Johnson could lead a sequel on his own, but a lot of what makes Red Notice what it is has to be the trio at its core.
While fans may want to see a sequel, big success on Netflix hasn’t always made that a guarantee. It may be a while before the studio decides to let fans know either way. For example, Ryan Reynolds starred in 6 Underground, an action movie that was one of Netflix’s biggest hits. It was watched by 83 million accounts during its first 28 days. However, a sequel for that movie doesn’t seem to be in the cards. It’s likely that a Red Notice 2 has been discussed, but lining up the schedules of Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds may be a feat difficult to accomplish a second time around. If it does happen, it is unlikely to be on Netflix before 2024.
Fortunately, Dwayne Johnson fans seem to always have something new to look forward to. This year, he released Jungle Cruise for Disney, and a sequel for that is reportedly already in the works. He made announcements for DC’s League of Super-Pets, an animated project where he’ll be playing Krypto, Superman’s dog. He finished production on Black Adam, a movie he’s been talking about for the past decade. For now, he’s celebrating the release of Red Notice on Netflix and basking in the glow of another big hit on his resume.