You may need to cross state or even international lines to experience the most immersive version of “Oppenheimer.”
Only 19 theaters in the United States, and 30 worldwide, are showing the ambitious biopic of J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as the father of the atomic bomb, using a version of the film in its most epic form.
Moviegoers in large parts of the United States and Canada would need to drive more than three hours — the film’s runtime — to get to a theater offering the Imax-70mm version of the film.
“We put a lot of effort into shooting the film in a way that we can get it out on these large format screens,” director Christopher Nolan told the Associated Press. “It really is just a great way of giving people an experience that they can’t possibly get in the home.”
Nolan’s team used Imax-specific cameras and custom-made Kodak film for parts of “Oppenheimer,” meaning massive Imax screens with taller aspect ratios and necessary projection systems will fill with additional parts of the scene relative to traditional horizontal screens.
The terminology and listings can be confusing, so look closely as you book your tickets. A film version will generally give higher resolution than a digital version. Most Imax listings will be digital, and some may not have the projection system required to fill a taller aspect ratio and give that extra immersive, uncropped feel. The movie’s website offers a detailed rundown of the options.
If you can’t make the trip to one of the 30 theaters offering the film in Imax 70mm, Nolan has assured moviegoers that the more horizontal 70mm-film version, will also be a great option. (There are a few of those in the D.C. area.) Film versions and Imax with Laser will probably be your best bet if you care strongly about the resolution of the movie.
If screen size is more your concern, chances are any screen labeled Imax will be bigger than a standard screen, though not all Imax screens are created equal. (An Imax representative recommended calling the theater if you have questions about screen size; The Post called every Imax theater in D.C. and got one human, at the AMC Georgetown, who could only confirm that the Imax screen there is “really big.”)
For the biggest screen in the area, go to the Air and Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center in Northern Virginia, to see Cillian Murphy’s face 6 stories tall.
“There are different shapes to the screen — what we call aspect ratios,” he told the AP. “What you have to plan is how you then frame your imagery so that it can be presented in different theaters with equal success.”
Opportunities to catch the film in Imax 70mm include seven locations in California, two in London and one each in many cities including Dallas, Indianapolis, Nashville, Providence, R.I., and New York City, among others. No theater in the D.C. area or Chicago is showing it in that format.
But don’t hit the road before securing your tickets. Screenings in Imax 70mm are in high demand, with many completely sold out or a stray seat or two remaining in the front rows near the screen.
Here’s a full list of the theaters offering the Imax 70mm (in addition to other formats).
Theater locations were provided by Imax. Drive time estimates are based on normal traffic conditions. Data was processed by Jared Kohler at Esri. Screen formatting guide information is from Imax. Movie image from Universal Pictures via AP.