Paramount shows 'Gladiator 2' as Disney goes R-rated

LAS VEGAS - Paramount Pictures unveiled gory first-look footage from "Gladiator 2" as Disney put on an unusually R-rated presentation for movie theatre bosses at the final day of CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

In an extended trailer for the long-awaited "Gladiator" sequel, star Paul Mescal does battle in a Colosseum filled with rhinos, bloodthirsty baboons and even floating Roman warships, egged on by Denzel Washington's shadowy advisor.

"It is possibly more extraordinary than the first," said director Ridley Scott, speaking via video link.

The footage was met with an enthusiastic thumbs-up at CinemaCon, an annual gathering at which Hollywood studios showcase their upcoming titles for movie theatre owners and managers from around the world.

Ridley Scott's sequel will hit theaters in November, nearly 25 years after the release of the original, Oscar best picture-winning historical epic "Gladiator." 

All this week, promotional marble statues for "Gladiator 2" have adorned the casino floors of Caesars Palace, the Ancient Rome-themed casino and hotel in Las Vegas where CinemaCon is held.

As the previous film's main characters, played by Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, were killed off, a new crop of actors step in.

Mescal portrays gladiator Lucius, the nephew of Phoenix's villainous emperor, who was seen briefly as a child in the original film.

Pedro Pascal plays a military general, while Denzel Washington's mysterious character is seen in the extended footage plotting to topple the Roman Empire.

"Rome must fall. I need only to give it a push," he says in one scene.

The lavish presentation raised cheers even as both Paramount and the wider big-screen industry face uncertain times.

Paramount executives also showcased titles such as "A Quiet Place: Day One," "Smile 2," "Transformers One" and "IF" -- a new comedy from John Krasinski and starring Ryan Reynolds.

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