'Oppenheimer' gains $32m in Chinese mainland in 6 days, reveals a ‘more open-minded society’
Published: Sep 04, 2023 11:17 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Renowned Hollywood filmmaker Christopher Nolan has again earned box-office success in the Chinese mainland with his latest biographical thriller movie Oppenheimer raking in 233 million yuan ($32 million) in its first six days despite divided reviews. Observers noted the film's strong box-office performance reflects Chinese society's progress in open-mindedness.

Adapted from a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, the film is about the US physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer's pivotal role in the Manhattan Project, which produced the first atomic weapons during World War II.

The film boasts an 8.9/10 rating on Chinese media review site Douban based on more than 300,000 reviews. As of 6 pm Monday, the film had gained more than 233 million yuan after making its official debut in the Chinese mainland on Wednesday, according to Maoyan, a Chinese movie ticketing and film data platform.

"I hope to explore the relationship between science and the political world, and scientists' responsibilities to the world," Nolan said during an interview while attending a special screening in Shanghai on August 24, according to the Shanghai Daily. 

The movie also depicts how the scientist was humiliated by politicians after experiencing success in his life, according to the report. 

The film does not avoid or glorify the devastating effects of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. It has triggered wide discussions among Chinese netizens, with many expressing their willingness to watch the movie, which also indicates Chinese people are "fostering a more open-minded and inclusive society," netizens said.

Nolan continues his cinematic style, with its themes of moral ambivalence and human destiny. The way the story unfolds from this perspective is also the main reason "why I am attracted and impressed," a Beijing-based white collar worker surnamed Long told the Global Times on Monday. At the same time, the film's narrative rhythm, shots, music and performances all contribute to maintaining a consistent top standard, said Long.

"The contradiction in the narrative of the film itself is the ideology, but in fact, it shows that human destiny lies beyond ideology," Long noted.

Wang, a resident of Anhui, echoed this opinion. 

"Chinese people are improving their vision and promoting openness through education development and culture cultivation, which is worth praising," Wang said.

"Lenience and love are eternal themes," he added.

Still, for some netizens, the three-hour film is "long and boring." 

"I left before the movie was finished. I think it's a little boring as I was not quite familiar with the background information," a local Shanghai resident surnamed Xu told the Global Times on Monday.

Global Times