The Big Picture
- Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s latest film, has reached over $300 million at the domestic box office and $477 million from overseas markets, making it one of the best-performing movies of the year.
- Despite being a historical drama and an R-rated release, Oppenheimer has been embraced by audiences, showcasing Nolan’s ability to attract viewers based on his reputation alone.
- The film’s success is notable due to the underperformance of major superhero movies this year, highlighting Oppenheimer‘s accomplishment as a four-quadrant hit and the fourth-biggest R-rated movie in history.
Like most films directed by Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer is registering minimal week-to-week drops in revenue as it completes over a month-and-a-half in theaters across the globe. The three-hour epic passed the $300 million mark at the domestic box office this weekend, having recently overtaken Inception to become Nolan’s third-biggest domestic hit of all time. The film also added nearly $30 million from overseas territories this weekend, taking its global haul to greater heights.
In addition to the $300 million that the movie has made in domestic theaters, Oppenheimer has grossed $477 million from overseas markets, which takes its running worldwide haul to $777 million. Not only is this among the best performances by any movie this year, the achievement is all the more special because Oppenheimer is certainly not the kind of film that you’d expect to play like this. For context, the movie is all but guaranteed to overtake the far more accessible Inception’s $837 million worldwide haul by the end of its run, which would make it Nolan’s biggest film outside from his two billion-dollar blockbusters, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
While the filmmaker has mostly played around in the sandbox of genre cinema, Oppenheimer is only his second historical drama, following 2017’s Dunkirk. It’s also his first R-rated release in over 20 years, and easily his most dialogue-heavy and mature film yet. It’s one thing for the film to have been warmly embraced by critics — Nolan is one of the most admired director of his generation — but the film’s box office performance cements his reputation for being able to attract audiences to theaters on goodwill alone.
Oppenheimer Has Performed Like Superhero Movies Used To
In a year when major superhero tent poles such as The Flash and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania have underperformed, despite having a combined reported budget of around $500 million, the $100 million Oppenheimer is playing like a four-quadrant hit. It’s currently the four-biggest release of 2023, behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ($846 million), and is now also the fourth-biggest R-rated movie in history, ahead of The Matrix Reloaded ($738 million). In the next week, it will overtake Deadpool ($781 million) and Deadpool 2 ($786 million) to become the second-biggest R-rated hit ever, which is where it’ll settle, as surpassing Joker’s $1 billion worldwide haul seems unlikely. Additionally, it’s also the fifth-biggest IMAX release ever, with $154 million coming from the premium format, of which Nolan is famously an advocate.
Based on the life of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the film also stars Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Florence Pugh in supporting roles. Oppenheimer is also an awards season favorite, and it’ll be interesting to see if it finally wins Nolan that elusive Best Director Academy Award. You can watch our interview with the filmmaker here, and stay tuned to Collider for more updates.
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