Christopher Nolan’s New Film Reveals A Ridiculously Long Run Time

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has a run time of three hours.

By Douglas Helm | Updated

christopher nolan

Christopher Nolan’s next big film Oppenheimer is on the horizon, and you’ll have to buckle into your theater seats for three hours if you plan on seeing it. Variety recently spoke to star Matt Damon, who plays Leslie Grover Jr. in the film, who confirmed the roughly three-hour runtime. However, Damon indicated that the film flew by while also praising Cillian Murphy’s performance as the titular scientist:

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is the director’s latest film after releasing Tenet in 2020, so it’s not surprising that he’s going big. The film tells the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s role in developing the atomic bomb. Along with Damon and Murphy, the film has a star-studded cast list that also includes Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Gary Oldman, Alden Ehrenreich, David Dastmalchian, Josh Hartnett, Jack Quaid, Gustaf Skarsgard, Kenneth Branagh, Matthew Modine, Casey Affleck, Olivia Thirlby, Tony Goldwyn, Michael Angarano, and Rami Malek.

Along with directing, Nolan also wrote the screenplay based on the book by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin. Of course, Christopher Nolan will also be innovating behind the scenes with Oppenheimer as it will be the first time black and white film is used in IMAX cameras. Nolan is known for his love and dedication to the IMAX format, innovating the use of IMAX cameras in films like The Dark Knight Rises, Dunkirk, and Interstellar.

It seems likely that Christopher Nolan has the same attitude about Oppenheimer‘s runtime as James Cameron did about his most recent three-hour-plus movie. Cameron and Nolan are both big proponents of the big screen experience and are usually uncompromising with their visions for their films. If you’re worried about bathroom breaks, you’ll probably need to come back and see Oppenheimer again to catch what you missed.

Christopher Nolan is also reportedly continuing his trend of using mostly practical effects and minimal CGI when making Oppenheimer. It remains to be seen if he tops his practical stunt of crashing a full-size plane into the side of hangar as he did in Tenet. Hopefully, he won’t lean too far into the practical side of things and demand an actual nuke for realism’s sake.


One thing is for sure — Christopher Nolan was definitely given a pretty big budget for Oppenheimer. It makes sense that Hollywood trusts Nolan at this point to make the studios plenty of money, but the film will reportedly need to break $400 million to profit. His last film, Tenet, scored around $365 million worldwide, but that was in the depths of the pandemic.

Christopher Nolan could pull off over $400 million for Oppenheimer, which you can see from his previous non-pandemic blockbusters. Dunkirk brought home over $567 million worldwide, Interstellar brought home over $701 million, and Inception broke $836 million worldwide. Given the subject matter of Oppenheimer and the giant cast, it seems likely that the movie will crush it at the box office.

We don’t have too much longer to wait to see Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. The film comes out on July 16, 2023.