Christopher Nolan fans ‘stunned’ as Oppenheimer gets director’s first R-rating in 20 years

Director has exclusively made PG-13 films since 2002’s ‘Insomnia’

Louis Chilton
Saturday 03 June 2023 10:43 BST
Oppenheimer trailer

Christopher Nolan fans have voiced their surprise after the age rating for his forthcoming biopic Oppenheimer was confirmed.

Oppenheimer, which stars Cillian Murphy as the nuclear scientist J Robert Oppenheimer, will be given an “R” rating in the US, meaning that anyone under the age of 17 will require a parent or adult guardian to accompany them if they wish to see the film in cinemas.

The news, confirmed by multiple US trade outlets, means that Oppenheimer will be Nolan’s first R-rated film since 2002’s Insomnia. His breakthrough film, the amnesiac thriller Memento (2000) was also rated R in the US. However, his subsequent films, which include 2008’s The Dark Knight and 2011’s Inception, have all been rated PG-13.

An R rating is roughly equivalent to a “15” in the UK, although age ratings for any one film vary depending on the discretion of each country’s ratings bodies. A PG-13, meanwhile, is considered more or less equivalent to a “12A” in the UK.

Ratings higher than PG-13 are often said to hinder a film’s prospects at the box office. Oppenheimer is being released in cinemas on the same day as Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, leading many analysts to speculate over which of the two films will end up “winning” the battle for the box office No 1 spot.

On social media, fans expressed their surprise at the news of the R-rating.

“Wasn’t expecting this. I was expecting it to get the usual PG-13,” one person wrote.

“I’m shocked…nothing in those trailers made the movie seem like it’d be Rated R. It looked like an intense, emotional PG-13 thriller. I’m stunned,” another commented.

“Honestly, I’m pretty shocked bc I totally thought Nolan made just pg-13 movies (minus momento),” someone else wrote.

Matt Damon in the trailer for ‘Oppenheimer'
Matt Damon in the trailer for ‘Oppenheimer' (Universal Pictures)

As well as Murphy, Oppenheimer features a large cast that includes Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr, Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Emily Blunt, Gary Oldman, Dane DeHaan, Kenneth Branagh, Matthew Modine, Casey Affleck, Alden Ehrenreich, and Jason Clarke.

The film will be around three hours long, making it Nolan’s longest project to date. The latest trailer for the film was particularly well received by fans, with some claiming it had driven them “feral”.

Oppenheimer is released in cinemas on 21 July 2023.

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