IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond has announced the company’s best-ever summer thanks to the smash hit movie Oppenheimer. The film follows the life of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man who created the atomic bomb. Irish actor Cillian Murphy plays the lead role in the movie that chronicles his work leading up to the creation of the bomb and its use in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Murphy is supported by Gary Oldman as President Harry S Truman and a stellar cast including Matt Damon, Kenneth Branagh, and Florence Pugh.
Gelfond said huge numbers of fans are eager to see the film on IMAX. “It’s kind of like a cult craziness. So there are people who have flown across countries, 6 a.m. shows sold out. I mean, people really know that the way to see Oppenheimer is an IMAX,” he said.
Screenings of the movie on IMAX account for 20% of Oppenheimer’s opening weekend sales. The film took in an impressive $180 million, including $17 million from just 30 IMAX screens worldwide – including 19 in the United States.
Oppenheimer is continuing its successful box office run but has been kept away from the number one spot thanks to the dominance of Barbie.
IMAX, short for image maximum, is a system of high-resolution cameras, formats, and projectors. IMAX movies require a larger-than-usual screen, which is part of the reason for the sparse number of theaters in America and elsewhere.
Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan said IMAX is a distinctive cinematic experience because “the sharpness, clarity, and depth of the image is unparalleled.”
Movies released on IMAX in 2023 also include The Little Mermaid and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, with the remake of the iconic horror The Exorcist making an appearance in October. The most financially successful IMAX film is Space Station from 2002, earning more than $126 million. Other successes include Santa vs. the Snowman, Galapagos, and T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous.