Home MoviesMovie News ‘Oppenheimer’ Reaches Lofty Heights Alongside Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ in the Elite IMAX High-Grossing Club

‘Oppenheimer’ Reaches Lofty Heights Alongside Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ in the Elite IMAX High-Grossing Club

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Christopher Nolan's 'Oppenheimer' Box Office Success


Oppenheimer, the newest cinema marvel, has skyrocketed to the list of top-grossing IMAX films ever, raking in a staggering $146.4 million from IMAX theaters alone. This includes an impressive $17 million earned from merely 30 screens. Competing for this title with giants like Avatar, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Avengers: Endgame, makes Oppenheimer’s success not only a triumph but a testament to its appeal.

The meticulous attention to detail by director Christopher Nolan in using IMAX technology shines through in Oppenheimer, as he teamed up with Kodak to invent new technology that allowed him to capture more intimate black-and-white scenes.

Following the Box Office Bombshell

The news was fresh out of the oven over the weekend that Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan’s latest cinematic tour de force, had smashed through the $700 million mark. But that was not all, folks! It was also announced that the Cillian Murphy-starring depiction of the Manhattan Project and the birth of the atomic bomb had catapulted into the top five all-time IMAX grossers in the premium large screen format.

No one’s whispering about Oppenheimer’s IMAX success; it’s a shouting-from-the-rooftops kind of achievement. It’s no mystery when you crunch the numbers, considering the competition it went head-to-head with and the cinematic behemoths it still stands shoulder to shoulder with. The film grossed a magnificent $146.4 million from IMAX alone, a whopping 20% of its entire global gross. Out of that sum, over $17 million was earned from just 30 screens showing the film on 70mm print, Nolan’s self-proclaimed “gold standard of cinema.”

Now, who’s beaten Oppenheimer in the IMAX game? None other than four of the five top earners in history: Avatar along with its sequel The Way of Water, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Avengers: Endgame. The film will continue its exclusive run in 70mm IMAX theaters through the month, then pass the baton to The Equalizer 3, but don’t fret – it’ll be back!

Revolutionizing the Silver Screen

Image via Universal Pictures

Nolan’s love for IMAX is the stuff of legends, leading him and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema to conspire with Kodak to create new tech for capturing more intimate black-and-white moments. In a candid chat with FilmSweep, van Hoytema spilled the beans:

“I had a taste of the dynamic between color and black and white on Memento and was hooked. Always searching for an excuse to revisit that. With Oppenheimer and the subjective storytelling woven with objective strands, the time was ripe to resurrect this method I adore. So we dared Kodak’s photochem team to rise to our challenge. And rise they did! For the first time in history, we shot IMAX in black-and-white, and the results were breathtaking. Hoyte and I were head over heels with the format as soon as we laid eyes on the initial tests.”

Hungry for more? Dive into our interview with Nolan for Oppenheimer down below, where he opens up like a book about his romance with IMAX. Get your popcorn ready!

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