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SYFY WIRE Oppenheimer

Why Does Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer Have Tom Cruise so Upset?

The star of Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning is reportedly up in arms over some IMAX plans.

By Matthew Jackson
Oppenheimer Trailer

There are a lot of big movies hitting theaters this summer, but two of the most-anticipated are inarguably Oppenheimer and Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One. One is a major new historical drama from one of blockbuster cinema's most well-regarded filmmakers, while the other is the latest action spectacle from a living legend many fans consider to be among the last remaining true movie stars. They're both movies we're anxious to see, and now they're reportedly at odds in a very interesting way.

According to a new report over at Puck, Tom Cruise is vocally "pissed" behind the scenes over the IMAX exhibition deal Universal Pictures secured for Oppenheimer, which director Christopher Nolan now-famously shot entirely in the IMAX format. As Universal prepped the film's release with Nolan, they locked down a deal that will secure every IMAX screen in North America for Oppenheimer and only Oppenheimer, and the deal will continue for the first three weeks of that film's release.

RELATED: Christopher Nolan Reveals Oppenheimer IMAX Secrets


So, what's the problem? Well, Dead Reckoning opens less than two weeks ahead of Oppenheimer, and while Cruise can be confident that his film will dominate IMAX auditoriums for those two weeks, once Nolan's film arrives at the end of July it will knock all Dead Reckoning showtimes out of IMAX screens entirely, potentially drawing spectacle and box office dollars away from the film. 

As Puck's Matthew Belloni points out, Dead Reckoning is still likely to land a bigger box office haul than Oppenheimer. It's the latest in a major action franchise known for Cruise's daring stunts, and Cruise is still Tom Cruise even if you don't see him on IMAX screens. Still, for a guy who's been credited with reviving the theatrical experience thanks to last year's Top Gun: Maverick, the loss of IMAX so early in his film's run has to sting. As a result, Cruise is reportedly going around to distributors and working to keep his film on as many other Premium Large Format screens as possible, while Nolan will have full command of the IMAX spotlight.

It'll be very interesting to see how this all plays out when both films are in theaters and earning money, and it'll be even more interesting to see how both Nolan and Cruise play this reported showdown in the public eye. Whatever happens, we still get to see both movies.

Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One is in theaters July 12. Oppenheimer arrives July 21, get tickets here!