Oppenheimer IMAX: Priciest Film Reel In The World Only Shown In One Australian City

Handle with care.

Oppenheimer IMAX: Priciest Film Reel In The World Only Shown In One Australian City

Image: Universal Pictures

Melbourne has undoubtedly scored points this week in the perennial ‘Which Aussie city is best?’ debate, after IMAX Melbourne took delivery of an 18km-long IMAX reel for Oppenheimer, making it the only place in the Southern Hemisphere able to show Christopher Nolan’s latest epic in 1570 film – the way Nolan intended it.

Christopher Nolan is one of the last great cinephiles, writing and directing all but one of his twelve feature-length films. Nolan’s commitment to, not only the art of film but the laborious process intrinsic to the scale of his projects has single-handedly kept the traditional analog film-making practice alive.

“Oppenheimer is definitely the longest film we’ve ever projected in one go on the IMAX film system,” Richard Morrison, General Manager at IMAX Melbourne and one of two people in Australia qualified to project such an enormous film, told The Guardian.

“These are the costliest film prints in the world. It’s pretty much precious cargo.”

Richard Morrison
Christopher Nolan is one of the last filmmakers to shoot exclusively analog films. Image: AP

On Nolan’s sets, you won’t find a huge control centre that focuses on each of the plethora of cameras in use; there isn’t a media village, working in real-time on the images captured through digital filmmaking and you certainly won’t find a huge green screen for post-production CG. There will be Nolan and a singular film camera fixated on the subject.

“I think IMAX is the best film format that was ever invented,” Nolan admits to DGA Quarterly. “It’s the gold standard and what any other technology has to match up to, but none have, in my opinion.”

The reel weighs 260kg and is a true testament to Nolan’s unwavering commitment to shooting on film, with many cinemas around the world simply unable to handle and project a body of work of this scale.

Christopher Nolan won’t rule out directing a Star Wars movie

Oppenheimer hasn’t even been released to the general public and the hype has been nothing short of explosive. Before SAG-AFTRA unfortunately called time on promoting the film, Nolan had one more interview with French media that’s recently been published – and his answers may just hint at the director’s next project.

Answering quick-fire questions from the on-screen host, Nolan is asked whether he would write and direct another superhero movie, 15 years on from the celebrated Dark Knight trilogy. Nolan answered with a swift “no” – perhaps out of loyalty to his existing Batman story starring Christian Bale in the titular role. But it’s when he’s pressed for another question, Nolan sent a certain fandom into a frenzy.

Within the parameters of the game, Nolan could answer yes, no or pass. When asked whether he would be open to a Star Wars project in the future, Nolan refused to rule it out either way, pausing for an extended period before finally answering, “Pass.”

Christopher Nolan is no stranger to large-scale sci-fi projects. Image: Warner Bros

It’s no secret that Nolan is a huge Star Wars fan and has held talks with Star Wars creator George Lucas about future works set in a galaxy, far, far away. He’s also certainly no stranger to taking on huge sci-fi projects with Interstellar, Tenet and Inception being three of his most well-known and celebrated works.

Should Nolan take the reins of a story anchored in the Star Wars universe, an interview from 2014 could reveal an entirely new narrative. “The truth is I think I’d be afraid to touch it!” Nolan jokes.

“I’m a lot more comfortable trying to do my own thing than carrying the weight and expectation of the entire world—particularly 40-somethings like me who live and die with each new bit of information about Star Wars.”

Oppenheimer releases in cinemas nationwide today, July 20.