Christopher Nolan’s latest film, “Oppenheimer,” has achieved a historic milestone by becoming the highest-grossing biopic of all time, surpassing the 2018 musical drama “Bohemian Rhapsody” directed by Bryan Singer.
In a cinematic showdown with Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” generated enormous excitement and secured its place as the third highest-grossing film of 2023. Notably, it also earned the distinction of being the highest-grossing World War II movie ever made.
Comparing the financial success of the two biopics, “Bohemian Rhapsody” garnered $910.8 million with an estimated budget of $55 million, while “Oppenheimer,” produced with a budget of $100 million, raked in an impressive $912.7 million.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” recounted the life of Queen’s legendary frontman, Freddie Mercury, with Rami Malek delivering an iconic performance. The film not only achieved commercial triumph but also enjoyed a fruitful award season, clinching four Academy Awards in 2019.
In contrast, “Oppenheimer” delves into the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist who played a pivotal role as the director of the Manhattan Project, headquartered in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The Manhattan Project operated as a clandestine research initiative with the mission of developing and deploying the world’s first weapon of mass destruction, ultimately aimed at bringing an end to World War II.
Other big biopics:
Prior to the success of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the most lucrative biopic was “American Sniper,” centered on the life of US Army marksman Chris Kyle, which amassed $547 million in box office revenue upon its 2014 release. Other notable biopic successes include “The King’s Speech,” a royal drama ($484 million), “The Greatest Showman,” a musical about Phineas T. Barnum ($435 million), and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a comedy revolving around stock-market crime ($406 million).
“Oppenheimer’s” remarkable achievement underscores the enduring appeal of biographical storytelling in cinema and its ability to captivate audiences with real-life narratives and exceptional performances.