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Christopher Nolan's Final 'Oppenheimer' Payday Close to $100 Million

Christopher Nolan took home two Oscars on Sunday night for director and producer of “Oppenheimer.” But his ultimate haul for the period drama was so much bigger.

Nolan’s final payday for the film, which traces the life of titular scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in creating the atomic bomb, is just south of $100 million, according to knowledgeable sources. That figure represents a combination of salary, backend compensation, box-office escalators and a bonus for his twin Academy Awards. A representative for the filmmaker didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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The Universal film — which nabbed seven Oscars total, including trophies for actor Cillian Murphy and supporting actor Robert Downey Jr. — was made on a budget of $100 million. After its release on July 19, becoming half of the one-two “Barbenheimer” punch, the film earned $958 million worldwide, a mammoth sum considering “Oppenheimer’s” R rating and three-hour running time. (Both are typically considered barriers in luring a so-called four-quadrant audience.) It also marks the highest-grossing best picture winner since 2004’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.” “Oppenheimer” is being rereleased in 1,000 theaters this weekend with its newly minted best picture status. That should run up the film’s final box-office tally and eclipse the $1 billion threshold, thus triggering an additional bonus for the director.

Now all eyes are on what Nolan — who wrote, directed and produced “Oppenheimer” — will do next. Some say it will be a remake of the mystery-thriller “The Prisoner,” based on the 1960s TV series created by and starring Patrick McGoohan, which Nolan was attached to in 2009. But the sci-fi project vanished from Nolan’s dance card that same year, when AMC released its own “The Prisoners,” a six-part miniseries led by Jim Caviezel as the ill-fated agent Number Six alongside Ian McKellen and Ruth Wilson. Others say he will begin writing a new screenplay now that the awards season is behind him.

Warner Bros. and Universal are the two studios most likely to prevail in the race for Nolan’s services, but it would be hard for the filmmaker to walk away from the latter considering that Universal helped him pull off what Warner Bros. never could. (Nolan made several movies with Warners including the critically acclaimed “Dark Knight” trilogy.)

Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” deal was negotiated by his longtime agent Dan Aloni at WME at attorney Michael Schenkman.

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