Oppenheimer Becomes Biggest Biopic of All Time, Overtakes Bohemian Rhapsody

Oppenheimer Becomes Biggest Biopic of All Time

Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, has created box office history.

According to Box Office Mojo, the film, which earlier this month became the third-biggest theatrical success of 2023, has now gone where no biopic has gone before, earning over $912 million globally during its run in theaters.

As a result, the film portraying J. Robert Oppenheimer’s journey has become the biggest grossing biopic of all time, surpassing 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody, which grossed $910 million worldwide. The later film followed the emergence of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

Oppenheimer is still not the largest film of the year; that honor belongs to Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, which was released on the same day and has since grossed more than $1.4 billion worldwide.

Oppenheimer has elevated Nolan, 53, even farther into history. It is his biggest box office hit since 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises, which surpassed the $1 billion mark globally.

The achievement comes just days after it was revealed that the picture, starring Cillian Murphy as the eponymous figure, has crossed the $900 million mark.

While it has topped Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in terms of 2023 figures, it is still trailing Barbie and The Super Mario Bros. Movie in terms of the year’s top earners.

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The fan-created “Barbenheimer” phenomena, which saw theatergoers check out both Oppenheimer and Barbie following their July 21 release date, can be credited with some of the film’s popularity. According to Box Office Mojo, that weekend was also the biggest theatrically in 2023 so far.

Oppenheimer, based on Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin’s book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, also stars Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Josh Hartnett, and David Krumholtz. It follows the Manhattan Project scientist throughout the development of the atomic bomb during WWII.

“For Oppenheimer to cross the $900 million global mark after just nine weeks in theaters is a remarkable achievement,” senior Comscore analyst Paul Dergarabedian told Variety. “It shows how an amazing film with a superstar director and a star-studded cast can turn a three-hour historical epic into a blockbuster mainstream hit.”

“The last few miles of any theatrical run are the most difficult,” he adds. “But, at this point, […] it’s a total winner regardless of the final outcome.”

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