Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer getting July 2023 release date

Cillian Murphy Inception
Cillian Murphy in 'Inception' (Image credit: Warner Bros.)

We know when we’re getting the next Christopher Nolan movie. Multiple outlets have reported (opens in new tab) that Universal Pictures has scheduled his biopic Oppenheimer for July 21, 2023. It was also revealed that Cillian Murphy will play the lead role in the film.

Oppenheimer — which in true Nolan fashion he is both writing and directing — covers the life of scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, considered one of the "fathers of the atom bomb". The film is based on the 2005 Pulitzer Prize-winning book American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (opens in new tab), by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin.  Their non-fiction account details Oppenheimer’s work, as part of the Manhattan Project, on developing the atom bomb that was used to help end World War II. It also covers the complexities of his dealing with the moral consequences of his scientific discovery.

The film will be distributed by Universal Pictures, which acquired the rights to the film after a bidding war in September. This marks the first time since Nolan broke out as a director that he is not making a film for Warner Bros. Nolan was highly critical of the studio for their decision to release all of their 2021 films on HBO Max at the same time as they were released in theaters. Warner Bros. has since committed to an exclusive theatrical window (45 days), for its films and worked with Nolan on releasing his most recent film, Tenet, in theaters in the summer of 2020.

Universal Pictures has committed to a theatrical release for Oppenheimer, which will reportedly be shot in IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format film, something that Nolan has done with most of his recent films.

Cillian Murphy is a frequent collaborator with Nolan, having appeared in the director’s Batman trilogy as the villain Scarecrow, his 2010 blockbuster Inception and the director’s previous World War II movie Dunkirk. Murphy is also known for his role in the popular crime TV series Peaky Blinders.

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).