The Big Picture
- Director Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer has joined the $700 million club at the global box office.
- Oppenheimer is a mature and unconventional film for Nolan, aimed at an older audience with its R rating, three-hour runtime, and dialogue-heavy tone.
- The movie explores the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, focusing on his creation of the first atomic bomb and his guilt afterward.
As of today, director Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is a member of the $700 million club at the worldwide box office. And in the next few days, it’ll break a couple more Nolan-centric records. First, Oppenheimer will pass Interstellar’s lifetime global haul, and then, it’ll overtake the lifetime domestic haul of Inception to become his third-biggest film. By Sunday, Oppenheimer is expected to hit $286 million in North America, and around $432 million in international markets, for a global total of $718 million. This would put it $3 million ahead of Interstellar’s lifetime haul of $715 million, which includes the $40-odd million that it has generated through re-releases.
The epic science-fiction film, which was released in 2014, grossed $677 million in its initial theatrical run. Oppenheimer is an anomaly because, unlike most of Nolan’s earlier movies, it’s aimed at a decidedly older audience. It’s also rated R, has a run time of three hours, and has a dense, dialogue-heavy tone that doesn’t leave much room for the sort of spectacle that the filmmaker’s fans have come to expect. Although between its non-linear narrative, Nolan delivers one of his career’s most arresting set-pieces: the Trinity test sequence.
Oppenheimer is based on the life of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, best known as the father of the atomic bomb. A psychological thriller about the intense guilt that Oppenheimer experienced in the aftermath of World War II, which effectively ended when the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs on Japan, the movie also devotes a significant amount of screen time to the witch hunt that he was subjected to by his government. After spearheading the creation of the world’s first atomic bombs, Oppenheimer became a strong advocate for the regulation of nuclear energy, which was seen as an impediment to the U.S.’s strategy during the Cold War.
Can Oppenheimer Challenge Inception‘s Lifetime Global Haul?
While Nolan’s films have always been known to tackle dark subjects, Oppenheimer has been described as his most mature movie. It has already overtaken the likes of Dunkirk and Tenet at the box office, and has a solid chance of coming close to the lifetime global haul of Inception, which stands at $870 million. It won’t, however, be able to challenge the global hauls of his two billion-dollar blockbusters, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
But few would have expected the film to have done as well as it has. Oppeneheimer debuted alongside fellow blockbuster Barbie last month, in what has come to be known as the “Barbenheimer” event. It also marks the filmmaker’s first collaboration with Universal, after he had a public falling-out with home studio Warner Bros. over its controversial 2021 release strategy that favored streaming over theatrical. Starring Cillian Murphy in the lead role, Oppenheimer also features Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Florence Pugh in supporting roles. You can watch our interview with Nolan here, and stay tuned to Collider for more updates.
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