‘Gladiator 2’ and ‘Wicked’ could be the new ‘Barbenheimer.’ They would need to make over  billion to match its success.

‘Gladiator 2’ and ‘Wicked’ could be the new ‘Barbenheimer.’ They would need to make over $2 billion to match its...

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A composite image of Ariana Grande and Pedro Pascal
“Wicked” stars Ariana Grande, and “Gladiator 2” stars Pedro Pascal.

  • Universal moved the “Wicked” release date to the same day as “Gladiator 2.”
  • Fans are saying the two films are the new “Barbenheimer.”
  • They’d have to make over $2 billion to compete with the last blockbuster double bill.

There might be a new “Barbenheimer” in town, as two other highly anticipated blockbusters, “Wicked” and “Gladiator 2,” are scheduled to premiere on the same day.

Last year, the polar-opposite movies Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” were coincidentally released on July 21. This created a cultural moment, dubbed “Barbenheimer,” that breathed life into a struggling industry as cinemagoers approached the films as a double bill.

Sources told Business Insider’s Jason Guerrasio last July that Christopher Nolan, who directed “Oppenheimer,” was upset about the date clash. The “Barbie” actor and producer Margot Robbie told Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series last December that an “Oppenheimer” producer had called her to suggest she move the date, but she declined.

Despite worries about the clash, “Barbenheimer” was a huge success. “Barbie” became Warner Bros.’s highest-grossing movie, and “Oppenheimer” set a record for the highest-grossing biopic. The films made over $2 billion combined.

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On Monday, Universal announced that the release date of “Wicked” would move from November 27 to November 22, clashing with Paramount’s “Gladiator 2.” Film fans are dubbing the movies the new “Barbenheimer.”

Others complained that it seemed like an attempt to re-create the “Barbenheimer” phenomenon.

Last year, some fans who noticed that “Saw X” and a “PAW Patrol” movie had the same release date tried to make “Saw Patrol” happen, but it didn’t generate a similar buzz as “Barbenheimer.”

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“Wicked” and “Gladiator 2” would likely fare better.

“Gladiator 2,” directed by Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “House of Gucci”), is a sequel to one of the biggest movies of the 2000s, so it already has a fan base. “Gladiator” won five Oscars and made $465 million at the box office in 2000, according to Box Office Mojo.

Starring buzzy actors including Pedro Pascal, Paul Mescal, and Denzel Washington, “Gladiator 2” could be an even bigger success.

Meanwhile, “Wicked,” directed by Jon M. Chu (“Crazy Rich Asians,” “Step Up 2: The Streets”), is the first of a two-part movie adaptation of one of the most famous musicals. Variety reported last year that the musical had made over $5 billion globally since its premiere in 2003.

Non-Disney movie musicals have been a tougher sell in cinemas, but “Wicked” could attract fans with the star power of Ariana Grande, Michelle Yeoh, Jeff Goldblum, and Jonathan Bailey.

“Wickiator” (“Gladicked”? “Glicked”?) becoming a cultural moment like “Barbenheimer” would give Paramount, Universal, and movie theatres a welcome boost after a slow summer so far.

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Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for Comscore, told Business Insider via email that the success of “Barbenheimer” was a “first of its kind scenario” that will likely not be replicated. But he said, this trend has likely raised awareness for “Wicked” and “Gladiator 2.”

“The studios behind both films should embrace the social media conversation and excitement that this key pre-Thanksgiving multiplex match-up is generating in the movie marketplace,” Dergarabedian said. “There’s really no downside to something like this.”

Marketing the films as a double feature could also help them compete with “Moana 2,” another highly anticipated movie set to be released on November 27.

Regardless, the double bill has a $2 billion bar to clear to repeat the success of “Barbenheimer.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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