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Two of 2024’s biggest films are clashing – we have our Barbenheimer 2.0-Asyia Iftikhar-Entertainment – Metro

An epic release day is almost upon us.

Two of 2024’s biggest films are clashing – we have our Barbenheimer 2.0-Asyia Iftikhar-Entertainment – Metro

The next great cinematic day out is upon us (Picture: Universal/ Rex/Getty)

The latter half of 2024 has some major releases in the cinematic calendar but November will herald in a truly iconic double bill – Wicked and Gladiator II.

It has been an exciting week for cinephiles after Gladiator II, starring Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal, released the first look images of the highly anticipated Roman-inspired sequel.

Then the Wicked movie, starring Ariana Grande and Cynthia Erivo, moved its release date forward by five whole days meaning eager fans will enter the emerald city even sooner.

One thing is for sure – both films are like chalk and cheese.

Where Gladiator II is a violent historical reimaging following the literal cut-throat politics of ancient Rome, Wicked is a heartfelt musical about unlikely friendship and embracing your true self despite the odds.

Essentially, powerful witches Glinda (Ariana) and Elphaba (Cynthia) are the magical, singing antithesis to rebel Lucius (Paul) and Roman general Marcus Acacius (Pedro).

Elphaba and Glinda are about to face off against… (Picture: Universal Pictures)

Paul Mescal’s sequel to Russell Crowe’s Gladiator (Picture: Jaap Buitendijk/Dreamworks/Universal/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock)

So when Universal Pictures announced Wicked: Part One is now dropping on November 22, the very same day as Gladiator, everyone inevitably started making the same joke.

We have our next Barbenheimer.

The strange phenomenon originally took place in July last year when Greta Gerwig’s Barbie came out on the same day as Christopher Nolan’s atomic bomb film Oppenheimer – with Margot Robbie and Cillian Murphy in the respective titular roles.

Fans poked fun at the wildly contrasting nature of the two films, birthing thousands of memes and causing an unintentional boost in box office figures as people raced to watch them one after the other.

In the end, the films grossed well over $2billion (£1.5billion) combined at the international box office.

Now, the internet is gearing up to repeat the fun day out and even Wicked director Jon M. Chu joined in on the renewed discourse.

The Wicked date change also means the fantasy adaptation will no longer clash with Disney’s Moana 2 which would have been a huge competitor for an opening weekend.

Margot and Cillian spoke about their reaction to Barbenheimer in an Actors on Actors Variety interview last year.

‘People are so clever. People kept asking me, “So is each marketing department talking to each other?” And I was like, “No, this is the world doing this! This is not a part of the marketing campaign.”‘ Margot recalled to Cillian.

Barbie and Oppenheimer was the OG combo (Picture: AP)

The Oscar winner replied: ‘And I think it happened because both movies were good.

‘In fact, that summer, there was a huge diversity of stuff in the cinema, and I think it just connected in a way that you or I or the studios or anybody could never have predicted.’

As for Paul, he opened up to Vanity Fair about what to expect from the gore-filled Gladiator, which will also star Denzel Washington and Joseph Quinn.

Are you planning to watch Wicked: Part One and Gladiator II on the same day?Comment Now

‘[It’s about] what human beings will do to survive, but also what human beings will do to win,’ the Normal People actor said.

‘We see that in the arena, but also in the political struggle that’s going on outside of my character’s storyline, where you see there’s other characters striving and pulling for power.

‘Where’s the space for humanity? Where’s the space for love, familial connection? And ultimately, will those things overcome this kind of greed and power? Those things are oftentimes directly in conflict with each other.’

So whether you are buckling in to hear Cynthia’s rendition of Defying Gravity, watch Paul and Pedro clash swords in the arena, or experience both on the big screen – here’s to great cinema.

Wicked Part: One and Gladiator II both arrive in cinemas on November 22, 2024.

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