B&W film stock used in Oppenheimer was created specially by Kodak for the movie

Oppenheimer film still
(Image credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Universal Pictures)

Last Friday, the epic biopic about J. Robert Oppenheimer – the theoretical physicist who was elemental in developing the atomic bomb – hit the big screens. In its opening weekend, Oppenheimer took $46.4 million worldwide at the box office making it the fourth-best weekend ever for IMAX. Those who've already seen it will know it’s shot in black and white and color, but what you may not know is that the black and white film used in the movie was created specifically at Christopher Nolan’s request.

Before Oppenheimer, 65mm Double-X 5222 film didn’t exist. You could get it in 35mm and 16mm varieties, but the large format film required to shoot on high-resolution 70mm IMAX cameras was a mere fantasy. Hoyte Van Hoytema, the cinematographer on Oppenheimer contacted Kodak to find out if they had any large-format black-and-white film available but was told not only had they never made it – they weren’t even sure it was possible.  

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.