The movie, starring Cillian Murphy as the so-called “father of the atomic bomb,” has generated $311 million in North America and $542.7 million internationally to date. The film continues to crush expectations, especially for a somber, R-rated biographical historical drama that unfolds largely in dreary rooms of fast-talking scientists and politicians. At this rate, the $900 million mark is within reach and $1 billion is closer than box office watchers ever expected. It cost $100 million to produce and will be hugely profitable for Universal, who backed the film, as well as Nolan.
After seven weeks of release, “Oppenheimer” has become Nolan’s third-biggest film ever, ahead of “Inception” ($837 million) and behind only “The Dark Knight” ($1 billion) and “The Dark Knight Rises” ($1.08 billion). It’s the director’s highest-grossing movie of all time in 59 overseas markets, including Germany, France, Netherlands, India, Brazil, Spain, Italy and Saudi Arabia.
It also stands as the third-highest grossing release of the year behind “Barbie” ($1.36 billion) and “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” ($1.35 billion), managing to surpass new installments in blockbuster franchises like Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” ($845 million) and “Fast X” ($704 million).
A few other milestones: it’s Universal’s highest grossing R-rated film (and the studio’s first R-rated film to reach $300 million) at the domestic box office, as well as the biggest R-rated film of the year ahead of “John Wick Chapter 4” ($187 million). In North America, “Oppenheimer” has managed to remain in the top five on box office charts for seven consecutive weeks. That’s a huge feat at any time, but especially in the busy summer months.
“Oppenheimer” has been a massive draw in Imax with $170 million globally from the premium format’s screens. It’s the fifth-highest grossing Imax movie ever — and the top four were $2 billion blockbusters of “Avatar” and its sequel “The Way of Water,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Avengers: Endgame.” In China, “Oppenheimer” opened this week with $9.3 million from Imax screens and $30.5 million in total.
“In its impressive debut in China, ‘Oppenheimer’ showed that it’s nowhere near finished dazzling audiences worldwide with its bold and uncompromising vision,” said Imax’s CEO Rich Gelfond.
Nolan adapted “Oppenheimer” from the Pulitzer Prize-winning book “American Prometheus.” The story follows the theoretical physicist who led the development of the atomic bomb that helped to end World War II. Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh and Alden Ehrenreich round out the ensemble.