'I Hate That F—ing Word’: Emily Blunt Gets Real About How Oppenheimer Would Never Have Been Made If The Studio Had Listened To Algorithms (2024)

Oppenheimer was an unlikely hit in the summer of 2023. It got swept up in the Barbenheimer phenomenon, which resulted in people going in droves to the cinemas to see both Barbie and Oppenheimer together as a quirky double feature. The trend got a lot of unexpected eyes on Oppenheimer, a three hour historical biopic, directed by auteur filmmaker Christopher Nolan. This genre of film rarely does numbers at the box office, as superhero blockbuster dominance has boosted titles with existing IP as the real money makers. However, Oppenheimer went on to break box office records and won Best Picture at the Oscars. Now Emily Blunt who starred in the film is opening up about the movie’s success, and how it defied studio algorithm predictors and became a hit.

Blunt is currently promoting her latest film with Ryan Gosling, The Fall Guy. The movie boosts major movie stars, but it’s still somewhat of a risk for Universal, as The Fall Guy isn’t a sequel or a prequel, or adapted from any preexisting IP. It is a completely original movie, which rarely has a blockbuster-style release. It isn’t a sure thing for studios, who often rely on algorithms as predictors for financial success. Speaking to Vanity Fair, Blunt opened up about how much she hates these algorithms and its influence on creativity. She said:

Some new things frustrate me: algorithms, for example. I hate that f*cking word, excuse the expletive! How can it be associated with art and content? How can we let it determine what will be successful and what will not?

She furthered her point by using Oppenheimer as an example. Many algorithmic predictors would likely not tap Oppenheimer as one of the top success stories of a major movie year, or even suggest people would be interested in sitting through a lengthy historical epic. However, people did show up to the theaters, multiple times over. This showcased that algorithms are a poor indicator for success, as the Edge of Tomorrow star explained:

Let me explain with an example. I was in a three-hour film about a physicist, which had the impact it had – the algorithms probably wouldn’t have grasped it. My hope is that ‘Oppenheimer’ and similar projects are not considered anomalies, that we stop translating creative experience into diagrams.

While Barbenheimer probably contributed to putting butts in seats initially, people continued to return to theaters to see Oppenheimer over and over again, putting it over the edge. It was a remarkable cinematic achievement that people loved seeing on the big screen, resulting in success. This felt like an indicator that audiences wanted more original ideas at the movies, and superhero fatigue finally set in. Algorithms can’t predict online movements, or what unique films are going to wow audiences. For the sake of film as a medium, hopefully there are more “Barbenheimers” to come.

There’s also been a big debate amongst cinephiles about prioritizing artistic interests over financial ones. Do studios have a cultural responsibility to make artistic films for the sake of art itself, outside of financial gains? The American film industry has always been centered around capitalist interests as a business, however other countries have government funded productions for the sake of enriching culture.

Based on this sentiment Emily Blunt seems to prioritize the creative process, despite also starring in big IP studio films in addition to original projects. However, it’s unclear if the business will follow her creative-centric mentality, as streaming grows as a major film distributor. Hopefully more original movies like The Fall Guy attract box office turnout, and even more original ideas are prioritized by studios.

You can revisit the unexpected magic that Oppenheimer captured last summer by revisiting the film now with a Peaco*ck subscription. Emily Blunt fans can also see the Oscar nominated actress in The Fall Guy, which is set to hit theaters on May 3rd. For more information on other exciting (and original) titles heading to streaming and cinemas later this year, make sure to consult our 2024 movie release schedule.


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'I Hate That F—ing Word’: Emily Blunt Gets Real About How Oppenheimer Would Never Have Been Made If The Studio Had Listened To Algorithms (1)

Caroline Young


Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.

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'I Hate That F—ing Word’: Emily Blunt Gets Real About How Oppenheimer Would Never Have Been Made If The Studio Had Listened To Algorithms (2024)
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