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Oppenheimer Beats Bohemian Rhapsody and Becomes the Highest-Grossing Biopic of All Time


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Oppenheimer is creeping closer to that billion dollar mark.

Bohemian Rhapsody grossed $910.8 million from an estimated $55 million budget—a staggering box office success by any measure. While Oppenheimer carried a meatier $100 million budget, it has now surpassed that box office gross with $912.7 million and can claim the biopic title alongside various other accolates it has picked up on its enormously successful journey since it premiered on July 21.



Of course, the biggest winner in this battle is Rami Malek, who appears in both films, albeit in substantially differing roles when it comes to screentime. Malek, as everyone will remember, won the first Academy Award of his career for playing the lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, in Bohemian Rhapsody. While his role in Oppenheimer amounts to a glorified cameo, it's a mighty few minutes he's on screen in the role of David Hill, one of the scientists who idolised the work of Oppenheimer and whose testimony uncovered the conspiracy wrought against Oppenheimer by Lewis Strauss (played by Robert Downey Jr. in the film), costing Strauss his nomination as the US Secretary of Commerce.


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Hopes were always high for Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.” The studio knew the film was great, and commercial, but no one in the industry expected that a long, talky, R-rated drama would earn over $900 million.



Hopes were always high for Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.” The studio knew the film was great, and commercial. But no one in the industry expected that a long, talky, R-rated drama released at the height of the summer movie season would earn over $900 million at the box office.


This includes Inception and Interstellar:



As of Monday, “Oppenheimer’s” global total was nearly $913 million, making it Nolan’s third highest grossing film, trailing only the “Dark Knight” sequels.


Star Wars comparison:



The historic TCL Chinese Theatre even brought a film projector back into operation and built a custom booth. It was an effort that was richly rewarded: “Oppenheimer” is the highest grossing film in its 97-year history with $2.3 million and counting, passing the previous record holder, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which grossed $1.5 million in 15 weeks, after just four.


And some of the positives filmmakers are seeing:



Nolan, and other influential film enthusiasts like Anderson, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino have been beating the drum for celluloid for years, but Thomas said it feels like, “This is a moment where everyone else is sort of catching that bug.


“Chris has always talked a lot about the formats and wanting people to see the best version possible, as far as the way that he intended the film to be seen. ... Now I’m hearing that there are other studios who are interested in putting their films out on those film screens,” she said. “It’s not that we think that film is the only way. Every every project is different and requires a different toolkit. We’ve always just wanted filmmakers to have that option.”



“There’s this notion that movies, in some people’s minds, became content instead of an art form. I hate that word, ‘content,’” Villeneuve said. “That movies like ‘Oppenheimer’ are released on the big screen and become an event brings back a spotlight on the idea that it’s a tremendous art form that needs to be experienced in theaters.”


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