How Gladiator 2 Can Help Restart A Historical Movie Trend


Ridley Scott’s upcoming Gladiator 2 can help jumpstart a new era of historical epics set in the ancient world, drawing viewers back to the big screen.


Ridley Scott’s much-hyped Gladiator 2 could be just the thing to rejuvenate the fortunes of the historical movie. The original Gladiator, with its story about Maximus, a Roman soldier sentenced to become a gladiator and eventually rises up to topple a corrupt emperor, remains an indelible part of late 20th-century cinema. It continues to appeal to many, in part because of Scott’s undeniably skilled direction but also because of the powerful charisma of lead actor Russell Crowe, who brought Maximus so indelibly to life.

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Details are still sparse about what story Gladiator 2 will tell, particularly since the lead character is presumably unknown; Gladiator killed off Maximus at the end. However, given the vast canvas that antiquity represents, there are certainly a number of powerful stories just waiting to be told. Ridley Scott has recently shown that he still has the creative imagination that brought Gladiator to life. His medieval epic, The Last Duel, was a subversive take on the conventions of the historical epic, calling into question the sort of macho heroism that was such a key part of Gladiator’s appeal.

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2000’s Gladiator Inspired An Increase Of Ancient World Movies

Leonidas with his group in 300

When the original Gladiator appeared in theaters in 2000, it seemed like something out of time. The historical epic had gone out of fashion several decades previously, so it came as a major surprise when Scott’s movie managed to be both a critical and financial success. Its success inspired Hollywood to reinvest in the genre. Several movies similar to Gladiator emerged in the subsequent years, including Troy and 300. Gladiator featured historical characters, and the others did that, too, with sprawling casts and big stars. Gladiator 2 could do the same once again.

Not all of these obtained quite the level of popularity that greeted Gladiator. Nevertheless, there was still clearly a hunger on the part of audiences for representations of the ancient world. The cinema experience is still in a bit of a slump, and studios are always looking for new ways to lure audiences back to the theaters. Creating more big-budget spectacles is one way to do this, as the box office success of both Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water make clear. With the right mix of competent directing, star power, and marketing, movies that tap into Gladiator’s appeal could help rejuvenate Hollywood’s flagging fortunes at the box office.

When Will Gladiator 2 Release?

Maximus fighting Tigris and tigers in Gladiator

It was recently announced that casting has started for Gladiator 2. As a result, there is speculation that actual production could begin this year- and even after taking so long, the prospect of Gladiator 2 is still exciting. The earliest that the movie could see the big screen is likely mid to late 2024. This means that there is plenty of time for the studios to create the type of buzz that will help ensure that the follow-up to Gladiator attains significant box office success.

Hollywood is always in search of the next trend, which will help to lure audiences back to the theater. The ancient world has proven to be such a draw in the past, as the success of Gladiator and its imitators made clear. If the studio executives are willing to take a risk with Gladiator 2 based on the excitement by giving it both the budget and the publicity it deserves, they could have a genuine hit on their hands, leading to a new cycle that will help to give audiences a reason to go to the theater rather than staying at home.

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