First Trailer for Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer Released (Description)

By Sam Hargrave Updated:
Oppenheimer poster

The first official trailer for Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer is now playing in front of IMAX screenings of Avatar: The Way of Water.  

2023 is placed to offer yet another stacked year of blockbusters, but few have quite as much buzz surrounding them as Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer. The acclaimed director's latest offering stars Peaky Blinders' Cillian Murphy in a thrilling biopic that will detail the development of the atomic bomb.

Much of the talk surrounding Oppenheimer comes from the fact it boasts one of the most star-studded casts in Hollywood history, with many of the biggest names today involved. Among the top billers are Murphy, Robert Downey Jr., Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, Gary Oldman, and Jack Quaid.

So far, footage for the highly-anticipated biopic thriller has been lacking, with only one cryptic teaser featuring Murphy's Oppenheimer having been released up to this point. But with many 2023 summer blockbusters beginning to debut their first trailers, Oppenheimer debuted a full trailer before IMAX showings of Avatar 2.

Oppenheimer Debuts New Trailer (Description)

Oppenheimer, Cillian Murphy

The new Oppenheimer trailer opens with Cillian Murphy's Robert Oppenheimer climbing the ladder to a tower in the desert. This likely marks the site of the "Trinity" test, the first-ever detonation of a nuclear weapon taking place under Oppenheimer's Manhattan Project in the New Mexico desert. 

Meanwhile, Matt Damon's Leslie Groves - who directed the Manhattan Project and oversaw the Pentagon's construction - narrates the shot, describing Murphy's scientific genius as "a dilettante, a womanizer, unstable, theatrical, neurotic" before cutting to a conversation between the pair:

Groves: "Why don't you have a Nobel Prize?"

Oppenheimer: "Why aren't you a general?

Groves: "They're making me one for this?

Oppenheimer states that "We can end this war... if we put me in charge" before further footage shows the secluded laboratory being set up for the project. Murphy's lead can be seen driving up to the desert site, accompanied by the first look at his on-screen wife, Emily Blunt's Katherine Oppenheimer.

The trailer shows "The Gadget," aka the first atomic bomb that was used in the Trinity test under construction before Murphy's Oppenheimer gazes upon in being lifted into a tower as the background behind him fades into a nuclear blast.

After this point, the thriller aspects of Nolan's flick begin to come through as Oppenheimer converses with Tom Conti's Albert Einstein, who reveals to him the possibility that the blast could "ignite the atmosphere."

These concerns begin to spread that this weapon could destroy the entire world, while Oppenheimer insists that the chances of that are "near zero." The finishing touches are put on "The Gadget" and those involved in the project look upon the test site as a hand lingers over the infamous big red button.

The trailer ends with a shot of the weapon before cutting to Robert Downey Jr.'s Lewis Strauss in a black-and-white hearing, in which he simply utters, "Well, we all know what happened later."

Why Oppenheimer Could Be 2023's Biggest Hit

2022 changed the game of the Hollywood box office as Top Gun: Maverick made history by becoming the highest-grossing movie of the year - unless Avatar: The Way of Water can change that at the last hurdle. This marks the first year since 2013 - excluding 2020 - that a major pop culture franchise hasn't led the box office.

Now that Tom Cruise's legacy sequel has proven how non-franchise flicks can still succeed, Oppenheimer could replicate that same success next year. The talent of Christopher Nolan combined with one of the biggest casts ever and an iconic historical story means that Oppenheimer truly has all the tools to lead 2023.

The debut trailer for the atomic bomb blockbuster certainly paints the picture of a hit, with a mix of both tension and intense character drama. Beyond the pure likelihood that Oppenheimer could be one of 2023's biggest box office performers, it may also have a fighting chance to compete during awards season.

For now, only those audiences catching Avatar: The Way of Water will have a chance to catch the debut trailer for Oppenheimer. Although the same was originally true for Barbie, which has already hit the internet in the days since, so it may not be long before the same happens for Nolan's next offering.

Oppenheimer hits theaters on July 21, 2023.

- In This Article: Oppenheimer
Release Date
July 21, 2023
Cillian Murphy
Matt Damon
- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.