A new Barbenheimer? Wicked and Gladiator 2 are now releasing on the same day, and everyone is making the same joke

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Wicked has pulled its release date forwards – which means it's now releasing on the same day as Gladiator 2. Naturally, that's reminded everyone of the last time an unconventional double bill took hold of the multiplex: Barbenheimer. 

When Barbie and Oppenheimer were set for release on the same day, a cultural phenomenon was born, and both movies went on to great critical and commercial success (as well as immortality via memes). 

Now, the entire internet is making jokes about the Wicked and Gladiator 2 combo, and it looks like we might have another Barbenheimer on our hands. 

Wicked is an adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, starring Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande as Elphaba and Glinda. It's only an adaptation of the first act of the musical, though, with a second part coming in 2025. 

Gladiator 2, meanwhile, is Ridley Scott's follow-up to his 2000 movie Gladiator, which starred Russell Crowe. The sequel has a massive cast, including the likes of Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, Denzel Washington, and Joseph Quinn. The first look at the movie was unveiled yesterday, and it looks like we're in for another swords and sandals epic. 

"He wants nothing to do with the image of Rome. He wants nothing to do with it other than to tear it apart initially," Mescal told Vanity Fair of his Gladiator 2 character. "The Romans were some savage, savage individuals. They would go from continent to continent and just destroy communities and nations. The film doesn't shy away from the kind of brutality of that, and the emperors at the center of it, and this kind of corrupted power that he can see through." 

Wicked and Gladiator 2 both arrive on November 22 in the US, while the UK gets Gladiator slightly earlier on November 15. You can fill out your watchlist with our guide to all the other major upcoming movie release dates through the link. 

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.