It seems like you’re about to spend quite a while inside a movie theater for a single screening – again. This Friday, a Puck News representative reported that one of the most anticipated movies from 2023, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, has a final runtime of three hours. Should this be confirmed, the war drama would become Nolan’s longest-running title.
The movie’s runtime probably won’t be received as bad news by Nolan fans, who are used to witnessing some lengthy work from the filmmaker. Back in 2012, Nolan delivered The Dark Knight Rises with 164 minutes. Two years after that, Interstellar clocked in at 169 minutes, and other landmark projects from the director like Inception and Tenet have easily passed the more-common 2-hour mark.
Oppenheimer Joins an Influx of Lengthy Blockbusters
The only difference this time around is that, due to a combination of factors, we’re getting delivered blockbusters that far exceed the 2-hour runtime. This week, the Keanu Reeves-led John Wick: Chapter 4 premiered with a whopping 169 minutes, and earlier this year Academy Award winner Damien Chazelle hit us with 189 minutes of Babylon — for some people, not even seeing Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie on the big screen is worth the long sitting. Not too long ago, we had to sit through 192 minutes of Avatar: The Way of Water and the 161 minutes of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
Will Oppenheimer‘s Duration Drive People Away?
Fans of a particular franchise or star don’t really care if a new title is long or not, but chances are if you’re not that excited to watch something, the extended runtime might end up factoring in your decision to watch it later, in the comfort of your home, and with bathroom breaks. We also have to consider that, even though their runtimes are yet to be revealed, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts and Fast X are part of franchises that tend to deliver entries that are over two hours long, so all of that adds up and might make people be a bit pickier when choosing which movie they’ll watch next.
On the other hand, Oppenheimer does feel like the kind of story you’d need more time to tell. The movie centers around J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the man that had a significant part in developing one of humanity’s biggest and most dangerous weapons: The atomic bomb. The cast certainly has enough names to lure people in: Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Gary Oldman, Alden Ehrenheich, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Josh Hartnett, and many others may be all it takes to put butts in seats regardless of the movie’s duration. Nolan’s previous war movie, Dunkirk, managed to rake in over $500 million in theaters, but it was an hour shorter. Come July, we’ll see if Nolan’s choice of subject and cast will make him another hit or if Oppenheimer’s duration makes it bomb at the box office.
Oppenheimer is set to premiere in theaters on July 21.