'Oppenheimer' Tops 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in Biopic Box Office


| LAST UPDATE 09/22/2023

By Amelia Taylor
Nolan Oppenheimer Bohemian Rhapsody
Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images

After four and a half years of dominating the top spot for the highest-grossing biopic film of all time, Bryan Singer's Bohemian Rhapsody has been surpassed by Christopher Nolan's scientific biopic Oppenheimer. Released in 2018 to mixed reviews, Bohemian Rhapsody earned a surprising $910 million at the box office on a mere $55 million budget. But now, it appears Oppenheimer is taking first place...

Nolan's 2023 film followed Robert J. Oppenheimer's conception and formation of the first atomic bomb and the aftermath of its detonation in Japan. Filmed with a $100 million budget, the movie just earned $912 million at the box office. However, Nolan's luck will likely continue, as the film is expected to reach another $40 million to pass $950 million gross from theatre admissions. Not to mention, this doesn't include at-home purchasing following theatrical release. Oppenheimer may do the unthinkable and join the $1 billion film club. Oppenheimer is not even Nolan's first or second highest grossing to date; 2008's The Dark Knight and 2012's The Dark Knight Rises are still just ahead, with $1.08 and $1.8 billion, respectively. Nolan has joined a small list of filmmakers to earn more than $5 billion collectively from all their films, with Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, the Russo Brothers, Peter Jackson, Michael Bay, and David Yates ahead of him. 

Cillian Murphy Grossing Oppenheimer
JULIEN DE ROSA via Getty Images
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Considering its lengthy three-hour runtime and heavy subject matter, the success of Oppenheimer has surprised the world. As the third-highest-grossing film of the year, much of its achievement is owed to the Barbeinheimer trend that dominated social media for the first half of 2023. The release of Oppenheimer and that of Greta Gerwig's billion-dollar hit Barbie were announced almost simultaneously, and fans devoted months to planning a dual screening of both films on the same day. 

The news of Oppenheimer's defeat over Bohemian Rhapsody came only a few months after Bryan Singer expressed interest in creating a sequel to the Rami Malek-led biopic. He told the press, "It's finding the right script. It actually took us 12 years to find the right script for the first one, so I guess it's no surprise that it's not easy."

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