Paul Thomas Anderson is praising Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” for bringing the film theatrical experience, well, back to theaters.
Anderson told AP News that the success of “Oppenheimer,” particularly on 70mm formats, is “healing” the theatergoing experience for audiences who’ve grown accustomed to digital not only through movies but also television. Nolan’s film follows J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) as he grapples with the creation and ramifications of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos.
“When a filmmaker as strong as Chris is pointing a finger at you and telling you where to go…you listen,” Anderson said, “and audiences have been rewarded for it. I know some film buffs who drove from El Paso to Dallas to see the film properly. That’s about 18 hours round trip.”
The “Boogie Nights” directed added, “I don’t think there’s anyone who could disagree: seeing ‘Oppenheimer’ on film is superior in every single way. Not to mention, people are tired of asking, ‘Why would I go to a movie theater to watch TV?’ Good question…you don’t have to anymore.”
“Oppenheimer” has grossed nearly $913 million worldwide across nine weeks in theaters, with 11 of the 25 screens capable of projecting the IMAX 70mm prints still showing the film with sold-out screenings. In the U.S., the 25 IMAX 70mm screens have grossed approximately $20 million per AP, with standard 70mm locations accounting for more than $14 million.
Paul Thomas Anderson added that what “I would call this is nature’s way of healing.”
In addition to Anderson, Paul Schrader and Oliver Stone have also voiced their admiration and support for “Oppenheimer.” Schrader called the film about the creation of the atomic bomb “the best, most important film of this century.”
“If you see one film in cinemas this year it should be ‘Oppenheimer,’” Schrader wrote on Facebook. “I’m not a Nolan groupie but this one blows the doors off the hinges.” Schrader noted that seeking a screening of “Oppenheimer” in 70mm is “worth the trip” for audiences.
“Natural Born Killers” director Stone similarly tweeted that “Oppenheimer” was an immediate “classic” that he “never believed could be made in this climate.” Stone revealed that he turned down helming the adaptation of Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin’s “American Prometheus” because “I couldn’t find my way to its essence. Nolan has found it.”
“His direction is mind-boggling and eye-popping as he takes reams of incident and cycles it into an exciting torrent of action inside all the talk,” Stone wrote. “Each actor is a surprise to me, especially Cillian Murphy, whose exaggerated eyes here feel normal playing a genius like Oppenheimer.”