Paul Mescal Dubs ‘Gladiator II’ and ‘Wicked’ Same-Day Release ‘Glicked’

Move over, Barbenheimer — Paul Mescal is ready for Glicked.

“Wickdiator doesn’t really roll off the tongue does it? I think my preference would probably be Glicked,” Mescal, 28, recently told Entertainment Tonight while discussing the upcoming same-day theatrical release for his new movie, Gladiator II, as well as Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande’s film adaptation of Wicked on Nov. 22.

The actor compared the growing hype for the two films to Barbie and Oppenheimer‘s same-day release on July 21, 2023. The opening weekend shattered box office expectations and led movie theater chains like AMC Theatres to its highest revenue ever.

“If it has a similar effect to what it did for Barbie and Oppenheimer, it would be amazing, ’cause I think the films couldn’t be more polar opposites and it worked in that context previously,” Mescal told the outlet. “So fingers crossed people come out and see both films on opening weekend.”

From Left: Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal in Gladiator II.

Paramount Pictures


The upcoming Gladiator II and Wicked same-day release was only made possible after Universal Pictures moved the movie musical release up one week from Nov. 27, when it previously would have opened against the animated Disney sequel Moana 2, The Hollywood Reporter reported on July 1.

Mescal, who received his first Oscar nomination in 2023 for his role in Aftersun, takes over the lead role in Gladiator II more than 20 years after Russell Crowe won Best Actor for the first film at the 2001 Academy Awards. Directed by Ridley Scott, Gladiator also won Best Picture.

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While speaking with ET, Mescal emphasized that he recognized the long-lasting success of Scott’s original movie while making the sequel. “It’s a film that lots of men my age and dads can quote religiously. It’s just been in the cultural zeitgeist for 20 years and there’s not a lot of films that have done that, especially in this genre,” he told the outlet.

The actor added, “So there’s a healthy amount of pressure but there’s also a healthy amount of confidence from he people who made the film.”

From Left: Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande in Wicked.

Universal Pictures/Youtube


In Gladiator II, Mescal portrays Lucius, the son of Gladiator‘s Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) who finds himself in the Roman Empire’s gladiator rings years later. Rounding out the cast are Pedro Pascal, Denzel Washington and Joseph Quinn.

“It’s an immense honor,” Mescal told ET about the opportunity to star in the new film, which is also directed by Scott. “It’s not lost on me that that film is hugely important to a lot of people across the world, and for the great Ridley Scott to kind of pass the baton on to me — it’s something that for me, my drama school self or even the version of myself that was 15 watching the film for the first time could never have imagined.” 

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Gladiator II and Wicked both release in theaters on Friday, Nov. 22.

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