Universal Pictures unveiled the trailer for Christopher Nolan Oppenheimerthe first film released by the auteur filmmaker since the 2020s Principle. The film is slated for release in almost exactly one year and stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, widely known as “the godfather of the atomic bomb.” The film is Nolan’s first collaboration with Universal Pictures and was acquired after a fairly active bidding war that included Warner Bros., Netflix and other contenders. It is widely understood that Nolan has left his longtime home at Warner Bros. because he was unhappy with the company’s decision to send movies to HBO Max the same day they hit theaters in 2021.
The cast continues to grow, with recent additions over the past two months including Kenneth Branagh, The Boys star Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Dane DeHaan, Florence Pugh and Josh Hartnett. Other all-star cast members include Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Rami Malek, Dylan Arnold, David Krumholtz, and Alden Ehrenreich.
You can see the teaser below.
The move to Universal seems like a big change for Nolan, who is most closely associated with Warner Bros., where he produced Dunkirk, Principle, and the Dark Knight Trilogy. However, the filmmaker has worked with other studios than Warner in the recent past. He produced Prestige with Disney in 2006, while in 2014 Interstellar was a partnership between Warner and Paramount, with Paramount distributing the film nationally.
Nolan is a brand unto himself, making films that routinely cost over $100 million but make a profit by being “the new Christopher Nolan movie.” Still, it’s unclear what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be on the box office, and so far it looks like many movies are struggling to open big in theaters. Nolan’s well-known aversion to digital releases could be a problem. Part of his problem with Warner Bros. was that he got upset when they moved their 2021 broadcast slate to a day-and-date release through HBO Max.
Even before HBO Max’s move, however, the Principle the release was fraught with tension – Nolan expressed his annoyance at being delayed and insisted it be given a theatrical release to the point that he drew criticism for ignoring the dangers of the pandemic so that he can project the film as it should he wanted. This could be seen as an extension of Nolan’s rigorous technical standards, which limited the initial version of Dunkirk as many theaters lacked equipment and screens that met its technical specifications for an ideal viewing experience.
Opening on July 21, 2023, Oppenheimer is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.