Christopher Nolan’s Billion-Dollar Oppenheimer Success Baffles Director 40 Years After 1 Classic Space Epic

Philip Kaufman opened up about his admiration for technology in film, and how recent films like Oppenheimer leverage it.

christopher nolan’s billion-dollar oppenheimer success baffles director 40 years after 1 classic space epic

SUMMARY

  • Kaufman had a lot to say about how technology enhances films and how he himself has worked with technical possibilities in The Right Stuff.
  • The director talked about how technology can enhance a film, and why it is important for films to be displayed in theatres first
  • The director believes that it is important to display films on a big screen, so as to allow for films to leverage the latest technology in the best way possible
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Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer took the world by storm in 2023. The film almost grossed a billion dollars, making it Nolan’s highest-grossing film to date, even more than what was earned by the entries in the Batman trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises)

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A still from Oppenheimer
Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.

Oppnehiemer‘s success is nothing to scoff at and The Right Stuff director, Philip Kaufman agrees. Sitting down with Vulture, the director aired his ideas and praises for Oppenheimer, talking about how similar the historical epic is to his own 1983 offering.

Also Read: “He also never appears to sleep”: Before Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy was Frustrated with His BBC Series Character That Made Him Famous

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Philip Kaufman believes that technology can make cinema better

2001: A Space Odeyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrik
2001: A Space Odyssey, directed by Stanley Kubrick

Speaking with Vulture, Kaufman had a lot to say about how technology enhances films and how he himself has worked with technical possibilities in The Right Stuff. The director talked about how technology can enhance a film, and why it is important for films to be displayed in theatres first. He said:

“Of course most people don’t have the chance to experience the film in a way that lets them fully appreciate that. That’s a thing that I hope we can preserve: the big screen experience. With the biggest presentation, we can take full advantage of all the technologies and methods we’ve developed.”

The director believes that it is important to display films on a big screen, so as to allow for films to leverage the latest technology in the best way possible. Films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Right Stuff, and even Oppenheimer serve as the benchmark for film presentation, given how meticulously constructed each scene is in these films, with the object of them being visible on big screens.

“Technology can advance spirit and ideas. It’s kind of like what we were talking about with 2001 and Kubrick. And Oppenheimer. The idea that a film like Oppenheimer is gonna make a billion dollars? Amazing!”

The director was especially pleased that something like Oppenheimer, a historical epic film, much like The Right Stuff, performed so well at the box office. Given how the right stuff failed to perform at the box office despite its minuscule budget, the director found himself in awe of Oppenherimer‘s 1 billion dollar payday.

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Also Read: Even Before Oscars, Cillian Murphy Has Already Won an Award for Oppenheimer

The Right Stuff was more beloved in France than it was in the USA

The Right Stuff
The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff, while widely panned once upon a time, took its time to become the classic that is revered by anyone who knows anything about films. However, the film was not as despised everywhere as it was thought to be at that time. The French were especially fond of the film. The director, about this, said:

“The Right Stuff played five years in Paris. They went with the title L’Étoffe des héros, which translates as The Stuff of Heroes. And the poster was more like what I wanted them to do here: Chuck Yeager walking away from a plane crash.”

The Stuff of Heroes, as it was called in France, became quite a cultural phenomenon. The poster and the marketing for the film were significantly different in France as well, such that when France won the World Cup, the headline in the new paper read as “The Stuff of Heroes“, showing how important the classic was even in at the time of its release.

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Read Also: “That was the bit I focused on”: Christopher Nolan Responds to Spike Lee’s Criticism of Oppenheimer for Missing Out a Key Detail

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Written by Anuraag Chatterjee

Articles Published: 629

Anuraag Chatterjee, Web Content Writer
With a passion for writing fiction and non fiction content, Anuraag is a Media Science graduate with 2 year's experience with Marketing and Content, with 3 published poetry anthologies. Anuraag holds a Bacherlor's degree in Arts with a focus on Communication and Media Studies.