Paul Mescal hopes Gladiator II, Wicked becomes Barbenheimer 2.0

Paul Mescal hopes the same-day release of Gladiator II and Wicked becomes the next Barbenheimer phenomenon.

Wicked, Gladiator II

Barbenheimer was a phenomenon. On paper, Barbie and Oppenheimer had little in common, but fans embraced the counter-programming and helped propel both movies to massive success, with Barbie taking in $1.4 billion and Oppenheimer grossing $976 million. With Gladiator II and Wicked set to premiere on the same day later this year, some are hoping we’ve got Barbenheimer 2.0 on our hands.

It seems that Gladiator II star Paul Mescal is also a fan of the match-up. “Wickdiator doesn’t really roll off the tongue does it? I think my preference would probably be Glicked if it has a similar effect to what it did for Barbie and Oppenheimer,” Mescal told Entertainment Tonight. “It would be amazing ’cause I think the films couldn’t be more polar opposites and it worked in that context previously. So fingers crossed people come out and see both films on opening weekend.” While I’m unsure if that Barbenheimer lightning will strike twice, it would be something to see.

The first trailer for Gladiator II was finally released yesterday, bringing fans back to Ancient Rome. “From legendary director Ridley Scott, Gladiator II continues the epic saga of power, intrigue, and vengeance set in Ancient Rome,” reads the official synopsis. “Years after witnessing the death of the revered hero Maximus at the hands of his uncle, Lucius (Paul Mescal) is forced to enter the Colosseum after his home is conquered by the tyrannical Emperors who now lead Rome with an iron fist. With rage in his heart and the future of the Empire at stake, Lucius must look to his past to find strength and honor to return the glory of Rome to its people.

The official synopsis for Wicked reads: “[Two students] meet at Shiz University in the fantastical Land of Oz and forge an unlikely but profound friendship. Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power, while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences on her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfill their destinies as Glinda the Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Both Gladiator II and Wicked are set to hit theaters on November 22nd.

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