Christopher Nolan reveals his preferred seats in a movie theatre

Director Christopher Nolan has revealed his preferred seating locations when watching a movie at the cinema.

The British-American auteur shared his preferences with the Associated Press during a new interview to promote his 12th film Oppenheimer, his longest movie to date and his first R-rated one in over two decades. It stars Cillian Murphy as the titular J. Robert Oppenheimer – a physicist best known for developing the first nuclear weapons in the 1940s who later became known as “the father of the atomic bomb” for his part in their invention.

Nolan revealed that where he sits in the cinema to see a movie depends on what anamorphic lens is being used. If a film is being shown in Cinemascope, then he likes to sit “right near the front, middle of the third row”. For a film showing in IMAX, however, Nolan will head to “a little behind the centre line, right up at the middle”.

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The latter is pertinent to Oppenheimer itself, given the film was shot for IMAX – as all Nolan’s films have since 2008’s The Dark Knight. Using high-resolution 70mm film, “the sharpness and the clarity and the depth of the image is unparalleled”, Nolan told AP.

“By shooting on IMAX 70mm film, you’re really letting the screen disappear,” he said. “You’re getting a feeling of 3D without the glasses. You’ve got a huge screen, and you’re filling the peripheral vision of the audience. You’re immersing them in the world of the film.”

Nolan adds that seeing Oppenheimer in its IMAX format is the “best possible experience” for viewing the film. However, Nolan stresses that the digitised version of the film that will show at regular cinemas was worked on just as much. “This is the exciting thing about shooting an IMAX film: When you scan it for the digital format, you’re working with the absolute best possible image that you could acquire,” he said. “That translates wonderfully to the new projector formats like the laser projectors.”

Oppenheimer premieres July 20. Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh and Gary Oldman are also part of the film’s ensemble cast. Pugh has called working with Nolan on the movie “quite possibly one of the most thrilling experiences”, saying “his dedication to the craft of filmmaking and old filmmaking is just magical to watch”.