Christopher Nolan’s biopic Oppenheimer has amassed $953 million at the box office, but it seems the film may cross the billion-dollar mark even after its Blu-ray release. The movie’s release in Japan was put on hold due to the sensitivity of the subject matter to the Japanese audience. However, the local distributor, Bitters End, has confirmed a 2024 release for the movie after months of thoughtful discussion.
The film revolves around the complicated life of the American physicist who’s tasked with leading the Manhattan Project. The project resulted in the creation of the atomic bomb, which would then cause mass destruction in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer Gets a Release Date In Japan
In a statement released early Thursday morning in Tokyo, Bitters End confirmed that Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer will hit Japanese theaters in 2024. The local distributor shared that the decision was made after carefully considering the sensitivity of the film’s subject matter to the Japanese audience. Bitters End also added that they were impressed with Nolan’s filmmaking and invited Japanese viewers to experience the film in theaters. Their statement read (via Deadline):
“We, Bitters End, will release Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ in Japan in 2024. The decision was made following months of thoughtful dialogue associated with the subject matter and acknowledging the particular sensitivity for us Japanese. After screening the film, we feel Christopher Nolan has created a singular cinematic experience that transcends traditional storytelling and must be seen on the big screen. We invite the audience to watch the film with their own eyes when it comes to Japan.”
The film omitted the bombings of the two Japanese cities. While Nolan faced criticism from various corners for this decision, he shared that he wanted to stick with the perspective of Cillian Murphy’s character throughout the movie. Oppenheimer heard the news on the radio just like the rest of the world. The film portrays the impact of the bombings through Murphy’s emotions.
While the film discussed the moral and political aspects of the bombing in a sensitive manner, many Japanese audiences felt that the promotions surrounding the film trivialized nuclear weapons. The hashtag #NoBarbenheimer trended in Japan after the fan-produced online memes received widespread hate.
Bitters End usually takes up films that are award contenders. Oppenheimer is expected to lead the awards category at the Oscars next year, prompting the distributor to plan for an awards season release of the film.
Oppenheimer May Finally Cross The $1 Billion Mark
Oppenheimer was released in theaters in July alongside Barbie. The latter topped the box office in 2023 with a whopping collection of $1.44 billion. The Cillian Murphy starrer also did some great business, considering it was a biopic competing against a pure entertainer. The film concluded its box office just short of the $1 billion mark. The Japan release of the film might finally help it achieve this feat.
The film ranks third in the highest-grossing films of 2023. It is also the highest-grossing biopic, the highest-grossing World War II film, and the second-highest-grossing R-rated film. Besides Murphy, the film also features an ensemble cast, including Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., and Florence Pugh.
Oppenheimer Blu-ray is now available for purchase on Amazon.