Oppenheimer Set to Break a Unique Box Office Record

Oppenheimer is poised to be the highest-grossing movie that never hit #1 at the domestic box office.

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has become a surprising blockbuster smash, grossing an ever-growing amount of money at the global box office and selling out IMAX screenings in countless cities. Nearly a month into Oppenheimer's cinematic run, it is now close to crossing a unique box office milestone. As of Wednesday, August 16th, Oppenheimer is on track to be the highest-grossing film that never hit #1 at the domestic box office. This record was previously held by 2016's Sing with a total of $270,395,425, but (at the time of this writing) Oppenhenimer is a mere $400,000 from crossing that mark. 

Oppenheimer, which currently has a global total of over $577 million and counting, has already joined the list of the ten highest-grossing R-rated movies of all time. IMAX has already announced plans to continue showing the film in IMAX through the end of August, following popular demand from moviegoers.

What Is Oppenheimer About?

Oppenheimer follows the life of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory during the Manhattan Project, and his contributions that led to the creation of the atomic bomb. The film stars Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Emily Blunt as Katherine "Kitty" Oppenheimer, Matt Damon as Leslie Groves, Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss, Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, Benny Safdie as Edward Teller, Michael Angarano as Robert Serber, Josh Hartnett as Ernest Lawrence, Dylan Arnold as Frank Oppenheimer, David Krumholtz as Isidor Isaac Rabi, Matthew Modine as Vannevar Bush, Josh Peck as Kenneth Bainbridge, Devon Bostick as Seth Neddermeyer, Matthias Schweighöfer as Werner Heisenberg, Christopher Denham as Klaus Fuchs, Guy Burnet as George Eltenton, Danny Deferrari as Enrico Fermi, Emma Dumont as Jackie Oppenheimer, Gustaf Skarsgård as Hans Bethe, Trond Fausa Aurvåg as George Kistiakowsky, and Gary Oldman as Harry S. Truman.

"It's a story of immense scope and scale," Nolan previously said of the film in an interview with Total Film late last year. "And one of the most challenging projects I've ever taken on in terms of the scale of it, and in terms of encountering the breadth of Oppenheimer's story. There were big, logistical challenges, big practical challenges. But I had an extraordinary crew, and they really stepped up. It will be a while before we're finished. But certainly as I watch the results come in, and as I'm putting the film together, I'm thrilled with what my team has been able to achieve."

Why Is Oppenheimer's Sound Hard to Hear?

In a recent interview with Insider, Nolan revealed that his use of IMAX cameras, which do not always have soundproof capabilities, sometimes gets in the way of having pristine sound. That, combined with his choice not to use ADR (additional dialogue recordings) to get clearing readings after the fact, leads to this trope — particularly in Oppenheimer.

"There are certain mechanical improvements," Nolan explained. "And actually, Imax is building new cameras right now which are going to be even quieter. But the real breakthrough is in software technology that allows you to filter out the camera noise. That has improved massively in the 15 or so years that I've been using these cameras. Which opens up for you to do more intimate scenes that you would not have been able to do in the past."

"I like to use the performance that was given in the moment rather than the actor revoice it later," Nolan added. "Which is an artistic choice that some people disagree with, and that's their right."

What do you think of Oppenheimer's latest box office record? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Oppenheimer is now playing exclusively in theaters.