Universal Pictures' "Oppenheimer" will screen in Japan next year, a local distributor said Thursday — a launch that had been in doubt amid criticism that the film largely ignores the devastation of the atomic bombings of the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Christopher Nolan-directed biopic about atomic bomb pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer has grossed over $950 million globally since its July opening.
The film will open in Japan in 2024, Tokyo-based distributor Bitters End said in a statement, noting that the movie is "considered a front-runner for various film awards." It did not give a specific date for the release.
"As the subject matter of this film has a very important and special meaning for us Japanese people, we decided to release it in Japan after various discussions and considerations,” the distributor said.
While it’s common for Hollywood films to be shown in Japan well after their U.S. premiere dates, there were heightened sensitivities about the release of "Oppenheimer" in the only country ever to experience a nuclear attack.
Many Japanese were also offended by a grassroots marketing campaign linking the movie to "Barbie," another blockbuster that opened around the same time, with fan-produced images of the films' stars alongside images of nuclear blasts.
Japanese users, who were already sharing the "#NoBarbenheimer” hashtag, were further angered when the U.S. account for the Barbie film said in a post, "It’s going to be a summer to remember.”
The dropping of atomic bombs by the United States on Hiroshima on Aug. 6 and Nagasaki on Aug. 9 toward the end of World War II resulted in more than 200,000 deaths. Each year, Japan marks the anniversaries with solemn ceremonies and calls for nuclear nonproliferation.