‘Oppenheimer’ Passes ‘Mario’ as Peacock’s Most Watched Film

Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed biopic made its streaming debut on NBCUniversal’s service this past weekend

Cillian Murphy in "Oppenheimer" (Universal)
Cillian Murphy in "Oppenheimer" (Universal)

After setting a biopic box office record and becoming a smash hit on physical, Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” set a new record for NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock after it made its streaming debut this past weekend.

The company announced on Tuesday that “Oppenheimer” became the most-watched pay movie in the history of Peacock, passing the record set last year by “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.”

“Oppenheimer” made its debut on streaming nearly seven months after its release in theaters, a gap in releasing that was done at the behest of Nolan and one that defies the general trend of ever-decreasing release windows as most films have made the jump from theaters to streaming faster than ever, especially mature dramas. Focus Features’ “The Holdovers,” for example, made its Peacock debut roughly two months after its limited theatrical debut.

But despite its bleak focus on the invention of nuclear weapons, “Oppenheimer” has become a cultural phenomenon, setting a new record for the highest grossing biopic in history with $957.5 million grossed at the global box office. Nolan’s clout as one of the few directors with box office drawing power, combined with heavy promotion of the film’s Imax and 70mm screenings and the memes generated by its same-day release alongside Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie,” helped make “Oppenheimer” into a true event release.

The excitement around the film poured over into its home release. With a streaming launch delayed, 4K Blu-Ray copies of “Oppenheimer” flew off the shelves during the holiday season, selling out in their first week of release at a time when stores like Best Buy have shuttered their physical media sales and Disney has outsourced its home video distribution to Sony.

Now, “Oppenheimer” is taking streaming by storm, something that Peacock took advantage of by releasing the film with an extensive suite of featurettes on every aspect of its production. A special “Impact the World” section of the site was also developed, pairing the film and featurettes with other Nolan films like “Dunkirk,” “Inception” and the “Dark Knight” trilogy.

With seven BAFTAs and five Golden Globes in hand, “Oppenheimer” is heavily favored to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, where it is nominated in 13 categories. If it does, it will become the first film since “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” 20 years ago to win Best Picture after grossing over $500 million at the global box office.

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