Paul Mescal is hopeful that ‘Gladiator II’ and ‘Wicked’ can repeat the ‘Barbenheimer’ phenomenon.

The two blockbusters are both set to hit cinemas on November 22 and Paul hopes that the opposing films can recreate the frenzy that came with the release of 'Barbie' and 'Oppenheimer' in July 2023.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Paul said: "Wickdiator doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it? I think my preference would probably be Glicked 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. So, fingers crossed people come out and see both films on opening weekend."

The Oscar-nominee plays the role of Lucius Verus in the sequel, the former heir to the Roman Empire who is forced into slavery, and explained the challenges of getting into shape for the part without going over the top.

The 28-year-old actor said: "I just wanted to be big and strong and look like somebody who can cause a bit of damage when s*** hits the fan.

"I think also, sometimes, one could, in striving for that perfect look, end up looking more like an underwear model than a warrior.

"Muscles start to grow, and that can be deemed aesthetic in certain capacities, but there is something about feeling strong in your body that elicits just a different feeling.

"You carry yourself differently. It has an impact on you psychologically in a way that is useful for the film."

Sir Ridley Scott's historical epic comes 24 years after the original was released and Paul explained that the sequel pays "homage" to its predecessor while creating a new story at the same time.

He said: "I think the main thing that I'm excited about is the homage that it pays to the first one but also the kind of new direction that the film takes.

"I think it's well balanced in that regard in terms of the physical action of the film and the balance of the kind of political aspects of the film as well."