Is This Barbenheimer 2.0?

Are you ready for 'Wickediator?'
a collage of actors starring in the 'Wicked' and 'Gladiator II' films. L-R: Joanthan Bailey, Ariana Grande, Cynthia Erivo, Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal. They are against a gradient, green-to-pink background
Images: Getty, Instagram

Do you remember what you got up to on the weekend of July 21, 2023?

If you’re a pop culture of film buff, chances are you were at the cinema, settling in to watch either Barbie or Oppenheimer, before topping up your popcorn and changing theatres to see the other. Greta Gerwig’s candy-coloured feminist spectacle and Christopher Nolan’s war epic were both tapped to be two of the year’s biggest releases. Given their polar-opposite themes, the fact the two films were being released on the same day should not have had too much impact, in theory. However, as netizens picked up on the day-and-night pairing, jokes about healthy competition snowballed into a full-blown cultural phenomenon. Dubbed Barbenheimer, the movies’ competition earned the respective projects even more press and ultimately saw viewers head out to see both back-to-back.

It’s been almost a year since the hype hit fever pitch. If you’re finding yourself missing the memes, then you’re in luck, because two new chalk-and-cheese projects have set themselves up for a second iteration of the saga.

On July 2, Universal announced that it had moved the release date for its screen adaptation of Wicked. Wicked: Part 1 will now premiere six days earlier than planned, landing in theatres on November 22, 2024. This also happens to be the same day as Ridley Scott’s period epic, Gladiator II.

Upon the announcement, the internet naturally drew comparisons to the Barbenheimer match-up of yesteryear—especially given the projects’ respectively stacked casts. Wicked stars Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande as Elphaba and Glinda. The two leads are joined by Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Bailey and Jeff Goldblum.

Meanwhile, Gladiator II stars heartthrobs Paul Mescal, Pedro Pascal, Denzel Washington and Joseph Quinn.

While we aren’t quite convinced that ‘Wickediator’ or ‘Glicked’ have the same ring to it, we are here for the phenomenon all the same. Now to decide which to see first—and what to wear! In the meantime, scroll on for some of the best memes about the match-up.

Trying to decide which one to see (first)? We officially have the trailers to help us decide…

Watch The Gladiator II Trailer

Watch The Wicked Trailer

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