Runtime Speculation

The upcoming epic thriller based on J. Robert Oppenheimer, the enigmatic man who must risk destroying the world in order to save it.
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Oku
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Mr. Alley wrote:
May 9th, 2022, 7:36 am
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So we have this picture of Matt Damon with what is almost centainly the screenplay.
Now the speculation about the runtime can begin.

Here is my take:

You see the bending of the first few pages so I am sure that it is "normal" paper and not something extra-thick.

I just assume that it is the complete screenplay without any "extras".

I asked 6 different writers in our "Filmmakers Germany" facebook group and they all said that it has to be around 160-220 pages.

I then took some normal paper, counted it and stacked it so I would get close to the same thickness as in the picture. 180 pages it was. Let's just assume that the screenplay has around 180 pages.

That would make it Nolan's longest screenplay to date ... IF ... Nolan's screenplays that are out there are the ones he starts production with. There is almost no info about deleted scenes on his films and I don't know if these deleted scenes are in the scripts or if they also get deleted from them after the film is finished.

Here is an overview of his Films, the script length and the runtime:

MEMENTO - 135 pages - 133min
INSOMNIA - 130 pages - 138min
BATMAN BEGINS - 150 pages - 140min
THE PRESTIGE - 128 pages - 130min
TDK - 141 pages - 152min
INCEPTION - 147 pages - 148min
TDKR - 165 pages - 165min
INTERSTELLAR - 157 pages - 169min
DUNKIRK - 82 pages - 106min
TENET - 148 pages - 150min

Assuming there aren't a tons of deleted scenes in each film they are always pretty accurate to the "1 page = 1min" rule of thumb (except maybe DUNKIRK for obvious reasons)

Does that mean we will get our first Nolan film that clocks in at over 3 hours?
Probably not but I wouldn't rule it out.

First, there are still the IMAX reel limatations but in 2009 James Cameron wanted to show a special cut of Avatar and the limit was somehow lifted from 2:30 to 2:50 (?). So maybe Nolan and IMAX will do something similar. They are already working on new cameras together so why not also on presentation equipment?

Then there is this enormous cast and the book "American Prometheus" and I think a lot of scenes might really end up on the cutting room floor. Sort of like Tarantino in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS - shooting way "too much" and then in the editing process "dicovering" the final version.

And then there is the thriller element to the film and I think Universal described it as a "Thriller" wich also makes me think: "Are there GOOD thrillers that are around 3hrs? Does a Thriller even work at 3hrs?"

So we will almost centainly get a film that is over 2,5hrs, maybe even over 2:49 (Interstellar) and I am all up for it! My prediction is 2:52.
Nice, high-quality analysis post.

The IMAX film platter limitation thing is interesting because it 100% weighed on his mind not just in the editing room, but also in the screenwriting stage. I wonder what the running times for TDKR and Interstellar would have been otherwise.

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Mr. Alley wrote:
May 9th, 2022, 7:36 am
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If we go with this screenplay being the exact same size as interstellar then we can predict a similar runtime how ever...

A low dialogue screenplay means less pages per minutes (see Dunkirk).

We can assume this being a biopic that it may be dialogue heavy but I predict Nolan will surprise us and invert those norms and actually give us a action heavy biography.

Also the cast size alludes to a long runtime.

and Also black and white filming may free up more funds for more footage.


I'm guessing runtime 2:59

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Pr0creation wrote:
May 17th, 2022, 12:02 pm
Mr. Alley wrote:
May 9th, 2022, 7:36 am
Image

If we go with this screenplay being the exact same size as interstellar then we can predict a similar runtime how ever...

A low dialogue screenplay means less pages per minutes (see Dunkirk).

We can assume this being a biopic that it may be dialogue heavy but I predict Nolan will surprise us and invert those norms and actually give us a action heavy biography.

Also the cast size alludes to a long runtime.

and Also black and white filming may free up more funds for more footage.


I'm guessing runtime 2:59
2:59 is not possible with Imax no ?

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Collins wrote:
May 17th, 2022, 12:25 pm
Pr0creation wrote:
May 17th, 2022, 12:02 pm
Mr. Alley wrote:
May 9th, 2022, 7:36 am
Image

If we go with this screenplay being the exact same size as interstellar then we can predict a similar runtime how ever...

A low dialogue screenplay means less pages per minutes (see Dunkirk).

We can assume this being a biopic that it may be dialogue heavy but I predict Nolan will surprise us and invert those norms and actually give us a action heavy biography.

Also the cast size alludes to a long runtime.

and Also black and white filming may free up more funds for more footage.


I'm guessing runtime 2:59
2:59 is not possible with Imax no ?
MY question as well, I thought he maxed out the IMAX platters on Interstellar with the 2:45(around that)?

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A Borges man wrote:
May 17th, 2022, 12:56 pm
Collins wrote:
May 17th, 2022, 12:25 pm
Pr0creation wrote:
May 17th, 2022, 12:02 pm


If we go with this screenplay being the exact same size as interstellar then we can predict a similar runtime how ever...

A low dialogue screenplay means less pages per minutes (see Dunkirk).

We can assume this being a biopic that it may be dialogue heavy but I predict Nolan will surprise us and invert those norms and actually give us a action heavy biography.

Also the cast size alludes to a long runtime.

and Also black and white filming may free up more funds for more footage.


I'm guessing runtime 2:59
2:59 is not possible with Imax no ?
MY question as well, I thought he maxed out the IMAX platters on Interstellar with the 2:45(around that)?
Can they not add additional platters or switch to an additional projector? I don't know the logistics, but it feels like the biggest hurdle is a lack of trained projectionists?

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Movie will be less than two hours.

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blackColumn wrote:
July 17th, 2022, 8:26 am
Movie will be less than two hours.
I guess it can be done, but since Kai Bird (one of the writers of the biography) mentioned that Nolan heavily based the screenplay on the book, and it is quite a thick and dense read, I wouldn't be surprised to see this end up closer to 150 minutes.

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DHOPW42 wrote:
July 17th, 2022, 8:50 am
blackColumn wrote:
July 17th, 2022, 8:26 am
Movie will be less than two hours.
I guess it can be done, but since Kai Bird (one of the writers of the biography) mentioned that Nolan heavily based the screenplay on the book, and it is quite a thick and dense read, I wouldn't be surprised to see this end up closer to 150 minutes.
Yeah you do have a lot to include:

The setting that forces Oppenheimer into action.
The large amount of characters.
His important personal relationships, spanning from his friends to his family to his co workers to his wife and Jean Tatlock.
Suspicion surrounding his communist beliefs.
Him getting questioned at those hearings.
His feelings surrounding the atom bomb, going from inventing it to feeling really bad that he did it. Becoming an advocate for preventing the development of the hydrogen bomb and wanting international control of nuclear power.
The process surrounding the Manhatten Project.
And individual things like the Trinity testing, a lot of his contributions to theoretical physics and the Enrico Femi award.

You can't fit that into just 2 hours, so it'll have to be 2 and a half or more to get the full impact of these things.

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Oku
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Going back to the days of Dunkirk, he was coming off of TDKR, Interstellar, both of which were nearly 3 hour films, and now he's doing a prestigious war epic? No way it was going to be anything less than 2.5 hours, no way; more like 3 hours if you had to bet on it.

Then we got closer to release, it was shorter than two hours, and upended everything that we thought we knew about prestigious war epics.

In Oppenheimer's case, cold logic (the source material, the amount of cast members, etc.) says that it is impossible for this to be shorter than 2.5 hours, but the fan in me who desperately wants this to be as radical as Dunkirk, is holding out hope that it could happen.

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Dahl wrote:
July 15th, 2022, 11:13 pm
A Borges man wrote:
May 17th, 2022, 12:56 pm
Collins wrote:
May 17th, 2022, 12:25 pm


2:59 is not possible with Imax no ?
MY question as well, I thought he maxed out the IMAX platters on Interstellar with the 2:45(around that)?
Can they not add additional platters or switch to an additional projector? I don't know the logistics, but it feels like the biggest hurdle is a lack of trained projectionists?
Good question. Might be a reason to bring back an intermission, have two platters and switch them out. Honestly I'm not that versed, wise I had the answer, or wish Nolan had the answer...maybe he does, like 6 months ago they where talking about improving IMAX tech, maybe that would be included.

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