Oppenheimer Being A “Horror Movie” Makes Christopher Nolan’s $100 Million Box Office Comeback An Even Bigger Risk

Christopher Nolan has described his upcoming Oppenheimer biopic as a horror movie, and while that is exciting, it puts Nolan’s $100 million box office comeback at an even bigger risk. Nolan has a track record of making some fantastic movies, meaning that the film will undoubtedly be great even if the director puts a horror spin on the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer. However, the horrific tone and themes of Oppenheimer put the movie’s success in jeopardy, which is a surprising choice considering how much is at stake for Christopher Nolan’s box office performance.
Oppenheimer will tell the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the scientist who famously helped build and later regretted his involvement in the atomic bomb. Oppenheimer will be Nolan’s first project since Tenet, the popular sci-fi movie from 2020. While Tenet was critically well-received, Tenet’s box office performance was pretty disappointing, with it only making $365.3 million against a $200 million budget. Although it is smaller, Oppenheimer’s $100 million budget means that the movie still has a lot riding on it, and the latest news about Christopher Nolan’s upcoming film shows just how risky the movie is.
Oppenheimer Being A “Horror Movie” Is A Huge Risk
Oppenheimer has been described as a horror movie by a filmmaker that saw the film early, and Christopher Nolan completely agrees. Nolan has cited Oppenheimer’s intensity, darkness, and nihilistic themes as reasons why the film could be considered part of the horror genre, even if it is missing many of the elements more traditional horror movies are known for. Although this is an interesting spin on the life story of J. Robert Oppenheimer, it makes the movie a huge risk.
Oppenheimer’s horror movie tone could be a turn-off to many viewers who simply want to see a straightforward biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer. On top of that, Nolan hasn’t really delved into the horror genre before, with him typically sticking to tense sci-fi and action movies. Messaging about Oppenheimer being a horror movie could also confuse fans, with the term focusing on the nihilist themes that general audiences may not pick up on from the trailers. After the failure of Tenet, Nolan really needs Oppenheimer to be a success, which makes it surprising that he is taking this big horror risk on Oppenheimer.
Oppenheimer Was Already Risky For Christopher Nolan
Referring to Oppenheimer as a horror movie only makes the project scarier, as it was already a huge risk for Christopher Nolan. This is mainly due to it following up on Tenet’s aforementioned box office failure, which was mostly due to it coming out right as theaters were beginning to open after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are also several other risks built into the project as well. Oppenheimer is incredibly morally dark, with it being about the scientists who invented the bomb that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese people in WWII. This may prevent some viewers from seeing it, as it will undoubtedly be a depressing film.
Oppenheimer is also a historical biopic, which is a new genre for Nolan. Oppenheimer may not attract the same target audience as movies like Inception, Interstellar​​​​​​, and The Dark Knight, meaning Nolan may have to find a new base of fans for the film to succeed. Also, J. Robert Oppenheimer isn’t nearly as popular as the subject of other biopics like Elvis or Mark Zuckerberg. The cherry on top of this risky cake is that much of Oppenheimer is in black and white. While there’s nothing wrong with black-and-white movies, it may make the film seem too artsy for general audiences, possibly hurting the project’s box office returns.
Oppenheimer As A Nolan Horror Movie Is Actually Perfect

Although it may be risky, and it may sound like it doesn’t fit, treating Oppenheimer as a horror movie is actually perfect. The story of J. Robert Oppenheimer is the story of a man who had a hand in the invention that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, and the guilt that comes with that. Oppenheimer was a tragic figure, and Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer is definitely attempting to capture that theme. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s story is dark, disturbing, and depressing, with it conveying the same feeling that some of the best existential horror movies have captured. Because of this, Christopher Nolan’s horror take on Oppenheimer is the perfect choice.

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