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Will Gladiator 2 Be a Box Office Flop?

Will Gladiator 2 Be a Box Office Flop?


  • Gladiator 2
    may not live up to the original’s success due to the changing times and audience preferences.
  • Ridley Scott faces challenges with making successful sequels, and
    Gladiator 2
    may suffer from high expectations.
  • Despite the absence of key original cast members,
    Gladiator 2
    still has potential with a new stellar cast lineup.

Despite having already shown glimpses of his brilliance with films like L.A. Confidential, the turn of the century truly brought Russell Crowe’s acting talent to the fore. After earning an Oscar nomination for Best Actor for his role in The Insider back in 2000, he won the same award a year later for his exceptional performance in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. An unforgettable film, it was supremely punctuated by Crowe’s timeless performance as Maximus Decimus Meiridius, a Roman general who is betrayed, has his family murdered, and winds up an enslaved person who later claws his way to revenge as a common gladiator.

The film was a true masterclass by Ridley Scott, and a movie that no one doubted deserved the rich acclaim it achieved. All these years later, Gladiator is back in the headlines since Scott recently wrapped filming on its much-anticipated sequel, Gladiator 2. With the film now in post-production, despite the SAG-AFTRA strikes delaying production, Gladiator 2 is still slated for a November 2024 release. Given the massive critical and commercial success of the original, everyone has high hopes for the sequel. However, here are some compelling reasons why, despite all its promise, Gladiator 2 could potentially turn out to be a flop.

Did Ridley Scott Wait Too Long to Make Gladiator 2?


The turn of the century marked a period that remains the most successful and critically acclaimed of Russell Crowe’s career. While Gladiator proved to be his only Academy Award win to date, that win was sandwiched between a run where he earned three Best Actor nominations in a row between 2000 and 2002. The film earned close to half a billion at the box office against a $103 million budget, earning itself over 40 prestigious award nominations and wins, including a myriad of Academy Awards, BAFTAs, and Golden Globes.


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Aside from winning the Oscar for Best Picture, it also featured a sterling supporting cast that included Joaquin Phoenix, Richard Harris, Connie Nielson, and Djimon Honsou, who all executed their roles magnificently. With an Oscar-nominated score by Hanz Zimmer and further nominations for everything from costume design to sound and visual effects, there wasn’t much that could be faulted — if anything. However, despite the buzz it caused among critics and audiences at the time, it took nearly a quarter of a century to finally begin working on a sequel.

Gladiator 2 Will Need to Find a New Audience

The world is a vastly different place than it was in the year 2000 when Gladiator was first released. With the vast generational changes and the rapid advancement of social media and the digital age, it’s become notoriously difficult to predict how sequels based on once highly acclaimed movies will land with modern audiences. Given the economically, socially, and politically charged years that have occurred since, between periods like the pandemic, the #MeToo era, various wars, and the threat of WWIII hanging over the world like a specter, there’s no telling if the themes and notions lauded by Gladiator will still hold any currency with audiences today.

After all, the viewing public has disintegrated into a hotbed of political and sociological sensitivity. All backed by the threat of cancel culture, today’s audiences tend to cater to the whims of social media, deeming an ever-growing list of things considered offensive. Meanwhile, ancient Roman culture was seemingly at odds with most of the standards of behavior deemed correct and appropriate today. All this begs the question: did Ridley Scott wait too long to make a sequel?

The Ridley Scott Sequel Curse

Ridley Scott is, of course, no fool and well-versed enough in his art form to hopefully know better than to make a film that will ruffle feathers to the detriment of its box office. As a filmmaker, he’s been the brilliant mind behind iconic films like Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise, and Black Hawk Down. However, despite being a four-time Oscar-nominated director, he’s rarely ever made sequels. Of those he has made, like Hannibal (sequel to Silence of the Lambs), Prometheus, and Alien: Covenant, none have ever come close to the kind of prestige and acclaim of the original films they stemmed from.

While no one doubts Ridley Scott’s immense talent as a filmmaker, he has chosen a film with a colossal legacy to live up to and one that will be mercilessly difficult to surpass in terms of acclaim. Given the film’s financial issues, which has seen its budget nearly double according to some reports, this will likely also affect how much it can rake in at the box office — notwithstanding how economically depressed times these are for the movie-going public. With the weight of all this stacked against him, Scott and his fans will be hoping he can break his recent trends and finally make a successful sequel, or at least one that doesn’t flop compared to its predecessor.

The Main Character of Gladiator Is Dead

Part of what made Gladiator such a moving film was that it featured the story of a tragic hero. In fact, one of the most famous scenes and quotes from the film aptly sums up its tragically poignant themes.

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius.

Father to a murdered son. Husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

It wasn’t just the horror of watching his wife and child being killed and betrayed that made Maximus tragic, but the fact that his bloody quest for revenge was always doomed to end with his death. That fact, of course, means that there will be no Russell Crowe or Maximus in the sequel, meaning one of the core reasons for the first film’s success will be missing. For that matter, Joaquin Phoenix will also not be in the film, nor any of the original main cast aside from Djimon Honsou and Connie Nielson.


Gladiator 2: Here’s What the Movie Needs to Include to Live Up to the Original

With the return of director Ridley Scott and several stars from the original, there’s a lot riding on the sequel’s success.

Gladiator 2 Still Features a Great Cast

Despite all the elements seemingly against Gladiator 2 being a success, it’s not all doom and gloom for the sequel. While the original cast is mostly absent, the sequel’s cast includes new characters to be played by the likes of Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Joseph Quinn, Derek Jacobi, and the up-and-coming Paul Mescal, to name a few. There’s enough gravitas among those names to bet the film will be great, possibly even exceptional.

Anyone who was awe-struck by the brilliant acting of the first film and the sheer spectacle of it all will know that the sequel has large shoes to fill. Ridley Scott and the terrific cast he’s put together can deliver a film worthy of being its sequel. However, time will tell if any external factors or other mistakes will end up dooming the film to sequel purgatory. Here’s hoping we’re treated to another stunning movie from Ridley Scott instead and one that also garners him more acclaim. Given all the fantastic memories he’s given cinephiles over the years, he certainly deserves it. Gladiator 2 is currently scheduled to hit theaters on Nov. 22, 2024.

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