Christopher Nolan has revealed that he sneaked his mother, his wife and three of their children into the back of an IMAX theatre in New York on the opening night of his film Oppenheimer.
Speaking to Variety, the director explained that he wanted to experience the authentic reactions of a paying audience to his film at the AMC cinema in Manhattan’s Lincoln Square.
“I usually don’t want to go,” Nolan said, “But the minute I’m there, something magic happens.”
Nolan continued that he felt the tension rise as the film built towards the first detonation of the nuclear weapon assembled by the film’s titular protagonist. “It was a remarkable experience to be there,” Nolan reflected. “Every seat was filled, and the focus on what was happening on screen was so strong. That level of engagement was something that I’d never really felt before. Real attention was being paid.”
Oppenheimer tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the American theoretical physicist credited for being the “father of the atomic bomb” for his role in the Manhattan Project, which developed the world’s first nuclear weapon during World War II.
The film has grossed approximately $950 million (£775 million) worldwide, the highest-grossing biographical film of all time and the third highest grossing film of the year, after Barbie and The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
In the same interview, Nolan has shared that he believes that nuclear Armageddon is something that legitimately concerns him. “Over an intimate timeline, it’s going to happen at some point,” he said. “My optimistic human self has to believe we’ll find a way to avoid that, but I don’t take a lot of reassurance in the idea that mutually assured destruction has prevented a cataclysm so far. It’s the ‘so far’ that’s the problem.”
Last month, it emerged that Cillian Murphy learned an entire lecture in fluent Dutch for the role, with some help from Nolan’s regular cinematographer, the Dutch native Hoyte van Hoytema.
More recently, it was revealed that a film titled Barbenheimer is in development to capitalise on the dual release of Barbie and Oppenheimer, which became a cultural phenomenon over the summer.
Oppenheimer will be available on digital, 4K, Blu-ray and DVD from November 22, 2023. The Blu-ray and DVD releases will come with over three hours of special features, including behind-the-scenes featurettes on the soundtrack, the special effects and interviews with the cast and crew.