The upcoming issue of Empire magazine features a pair of covers giving audiences a fresh look at cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan's forthcoming biopic of 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 pretty active bidding war that included Warner Bros., Netflix, and other suitors. It's widely understood that Nolan left his longtime home at Warner Bros. because he was unhappy with the company's decision to send movies to HBO Max on the same day as their theatrical release in 2021.
The cast continues to grow, with recent additions over the last two months including Kenneth Branagh, The Boys star Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Dane DeHaan, Florence Pugh, and Josh Hartnett. Other members of the all-star cast includes Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, Rami Malek, Dylan Arnold , David Krumholtz, and Alden Ehrenreich.
You can see the covers below.
World exclusive! Total Film's 2023 Preview issue is inbound, headlined by Christopher Nolan's upcoming epic #Oppenheimer.— Total Film (@totalfilm) December 9, 2022
"It's a story of immense scope and scale," he tells us.
The issue hits stands next Thursday, while subscribers have an exclusive cover (right) in the post! pic.twitter.com/bKlTFwq2mp
The move to Universal seems like a big change for Nolan, who is most closely associated with Warner Bros., where he produced Dunkirk, Tenet, and the Dark Knight Trilogy. Still, the filmmaker has worked with other studios besides Warner in the recent past. He produced The Prestige with Disney in 2006, while 2014's Interstellar was a partnership between Warner and Paramount, with Paramount distributing the film domestically.
Nolan is a brand unto himself, making movies that routinely cost over $100 million, but turn a profit on the strength of being "the new Christopher Nolan movie." Still, it is not clear what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be on the box office, and so far, it seems many films 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 became upset when they moved their 2021 release slate to day-and-date release through HBO Max.
Even before the HBO Max move, though, the Tenet release was rife with tension -- Nolan was vocal about his dissatisfaction with being delayed, and insistent that it be given a theatrical release to the point that the drew some criticism for ignoring the dangers of the pandemic so that he could screen the movie the way he wanted. This could be seen as an extension of Nolan's exacting technical standards, which limited the initial release of Dunkirk because many theaters did not have equipment and screens that met his technical specifications for an ideal viewing experience.
Opening on July 21, 2023, Oppenheimer is based on Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer.