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“Gladiator” Steps Into Ring

Forget Roger Ebert. This weekend, the American moviegoing public gets to
play the Emperor, deciding the fate of one of this year’s biggest and most
anticipated blockbusters with thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

“Gladiator,” the first huge-scale Roman epic to come out of Hollywood in
who-knows-how-long, conquers our cinemas beginning Friday. Unless virtually
every prognosticator is dead wrong, it should easily land at No. 1.

“There’s no question that ‘Gladiator’ is going to dominate this weekend in a
big way,” says Paul Dergarabedian of the box-office tracking firm Exhibitor
Relations Co. The first weekend in May has become a prime launchpad for
blockbuster movies in recent years, with both “The Mummy” (1999) and “Deep
Impact” (1998) scoring more than $40 mil, Dergarabedian notes.

Also opening this weekend, in case anyone cares, is “I Dreamed of Africa,” a
story of rich white people living in Africa, starring Kim Basinger and
Vincent Perez.


Synopsis: Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix go mano-a-mano in this epic
action-adventure from “Blade Runner” director Ridley Scott. Set during the
era of Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, the big budget pic casts Phoenix as
the villainous heir to the throne who imprisons hero-general Crowe and
forces him to become a gladiator in the coliseum games.
Genre: Action/Adventure
Rating: R, for intense, graphic combat.
Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed and
Richard Harris
Credits: Directed by Ridley Scott. Written by David Franzoni, John Logan
William Nicholson. Produced by David Franzoni, Steven Spielberg and Douglas
Wick. Released by DreamWorks.
Running Time: 2 hours 34 minutes
Video Extras: Russell Crowe talks about occupational hazards.
Theatrical Release Date: May 5, 2000

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