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SYFY WIRE Oppenheimer

Is 'Oppenheimer' delayed? The latest on Christopher Nolan's ambitious biopic about the atomic bomb

Cillian Murphy leads the historical epic, which chronicles the development of the world's first atomic bomb.

By Josh Weiss
Oppenheimer (2023)

If you happened to skate across the internet in the last few days, you may have stumbled upon rumblings of Universal Pictures delaying Christopher Nolan's ambitious biopic Oppenheimer from its original release window of late July to the end of the year. The rumors first began with a comment made to Variety by Cannes Film Festival director Thierry Fremaux.

"Unfortunately no, I would have loved [that] but it’s being released at the end of the year as part of their awards strategy," he said when asked if the ambitious historical epic about the creation of the atomic bomb might be added to this year's festival roster. "My two regrets this year are Oppenheimer and Barbie, but it won’t be ready either by May."

RELATED: Christopher Nolan's 'Oppenheimer' somehow recreated a nuclear detonation without using CGI

Fremaux eventually clarified that he misspoke about Oppenheimer, which SYFY WIRE can confirm is still on course to hit theaters on Friday, July 21 — the same day as Greta Gerwig's Barbie. Nolan's 12th feature film tracks the development of the first atomic bomb through the eyes of trailblazing scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer (portrayed here by Cillian Murphy), who later came to regret his invaluable contributions to the top-secret Manhattan Project during the Second World War.

The project boasts one of the most impressive supporting casts in recent memory with the inclusion of Emily Blunt (Katherine “Kitty” Oppenheimer), Matt Damon (General Leslie Groves Jr.), Robert Downey Jr. (Lewis Strauss), Florence Pugh (Jean Tatlock), Josh Hartnett (Ernest Lawrence), Michael Angarano (Robert Serber), Benny Safdie (Edward Teller), Kenneth Branagh, Rami Malek, Alden Ehrenreich, David Dastmalchian, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Dylan Arnold, and David Krumholtz.

Nolan wrote the screenplay, basing it upon the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and the late Martin J. Sherwin. The visionary filmmaker also produced the movie alongside Emma Thomas and Charles Roven. According to Mr. Damon, the film has a colossal runtime of three hours.

The 2023 edition of the Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to run from May 16 - 27. While Oppenheimer won't be a part of the festivities, the annual cinematic gathering was able to lock down the world premiere for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (opening to the public June 30). The long-awaited sequel was helmed by James Mangold (the first entry in the franchise not directed by Steven Spielberg).

Oppenheimer, meanwhile, detonates on the big screen July 21.

Jonesing for another thriller based on true events? A Friend of the Family is now streaming on Peacock.