Christopher Nolan fans are explaining how to avoid 'croppenheimer,' the worst way to watch 'Oppenheimer'


Christopher Nolan fans are spreading the word about ‘croppenheimer,’ the worst way to watch ‘Oppenheimer’

Most movie theaters won't screen 'Oppenheimer' the way Christopher Nolan intended.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 11, 2023

Christopher Nolan is the only mainstream director whose films arrive with an instruction manual, with Oppenheimer‘s marketing emphasizing the importance of 70mm IMAX film projection.

Unfortunately, there are only 30 cinemas in the U.S. that will project Oppenheimer in the correct manner. Which is why Nolan fans are now warning people about “croppenheimer,” a cropped (or otherwise subpar) version of the film.

At this point, the idea of Nolan films requiring elaborate viewing guidelines is a punchline in itself—hence all the memes about watching Tenet “as Nolan intended” on a toilet screen or a smartwatch or on the plane.

That being said, film buffs are genuinely invested in getting the ultimate Nolan experience, which is why film TikToker @umamialex has racked up over 6 million views with her instructions on how to avoid croppenheimer.

@umamialex make sure you don't pick the wrong theater for #oppenheimer if you have the right kind of #imax nearby! #film #movies #cinematography ♬ original sound – Umami Alex 🎬 ♥️ 🎥

Taking a step further from blockbusters intended for “the biggest screen possible,” Oppenheimer‘s ideal format is 70mm IMAX film, utilizing a mindboggling 11-mile, 600lb reel of film stock.

As @umamialex explains, Nolan and his cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema filmed Oppenheimer in two different aspect ratios: IMAX’s native 1.43:1 ratio (i.e. filling the entire almost-square IMAX screen), and DCI standard 1.9:1 (which is more rectangular).

Most theaters crop the IMAX aspect ratio horizontally, also known as letterboxing. This means that audiences may miss out on what Nolan describes as “3D without the glasses,” where the IMAX screen fills the viewer’s entire peripheral vision.

In case that wasn’t enough, some cinephiles also have strong opinions about film vs. digital, arguing that the film stock version is superior.

@jaydent.26 I have my tickets booked😖 #oppenheimer #christophernolan #letterboxd #movie #film #filmreview #filmtiktok #filmtok #movietiktok #movietok #moviereview #movierecommendation #movierecommendations #filmrecommendation #review #cinephile #cinephiles #amc #amcstubs #jaydentorres ♬ Cornfield Chase – Hans Zimmer

In a two-part series of instructions on how to achieve the best Oppenheimer viewing experience, TikToker @jaydent.26 recommended sitting in the middle of the IMAX theater and explained that the 70mm print is the best option because it’s what the movie was actually filmed on, rather than being a digital copy.

But even he admits that casual viewers may not notice the difference between IMAX film and IMAX digital. So while Christopher Nolan might hope that viewers curate a pristine cinematic experience, you’re probably fine just going to the movies.

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*First Published: Jul 11, 2023, 12:40 pm CDT