Due to popular demand, “Oppenheimer” has extended its 70mm run at Imax theaters nationwide through the end of August.
The previous end date, which was already an extension of the film’s original run in Imax 70mm format, was Aug. 17. Tickets for Christopher Nolan’s atomic bomb drama are already on sale through Aug. 31 at some Imax theaters, as exhibitors will make them available on a rolling basis.
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Nolan, a longtime vocal champion of the premium format, touted Imax 70mm as the “best possible experience” to see “Oppenheimer” because “the sharpness and the clarity and the depth of the image is unparalleled.” Only 19 theaters in the U.S. (and 30 worldwide) have the capability to play films in Imax 70mm, including the AMC Universal CityWalk in Los Angeles and the AMC Lincoln Square in New York — making those screens some of the hottest tickets in town.
“It actually looks better in film,” Imax CEO Richard Gelfond tells Variety. “It’s not just about nostalgia. It’s a better experience.”
A lot of work goes into the 70mm experience, he adds. It takes three days to make an Imax film print, and each one is crafted directly from Nolan’s film negative. In the case of “Oppenheimer,” which clocks in at three hours, physical reels are 11 miles long and weigh 600 pounds.
The process is “time consuming and expensive,” Gelfond admits. But ultimately, it’s “worth it.”
Already, the historical biopic starring Cillian Murphy as the “father of the atomic bomb” J. Robert Oppenheimer, has raked in over $550 million at the global box office, a triumphant feat for an R-rated drama that runs over three hours long. Imax has accounted for a remarkable $114.2 million (22%) of the film’s worldwide total.
“Oppenheimer” will control the Imax footprint until Denzel Washington’s “The Equalizer 3” takes its spot on Sept. 1. Later in the year, Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune Part II,” also filmed with Imax cameras, is getting an exclusive Imax run starting on Nov. 3.
Still, executives at Imax are confident this summer won’t be the last of “Oppenheimer” in Nolan’s preferred format.
“Imax 70mm film lasts, on average, 10 times longer than regular 70mm or 35mm film. Those prints are assets that we’ll be using for the next 20 years,” says Mark Jafar, global head of corporate communications for Imax. “Places like BFI [in London] or Lincoln Square will do Nolan retrospectives or bring back ‘Oppenheimer’ given how popular it is. We’ll be showing it in this format for years to come.”
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