Gladiator was dethroned by this children's film

Massimo Decimo Meridio couldn't do anything when faced with Disney's dinosaurs.

Image Credit: Universal Pictures

He is very close to the premiere of the highly anticipated Gladiator 2, a film that Ridley Scott himself has promised will be "even more extraordinary" than the legendary first chapter. We'll soon find out if it's true, but now it's time to travel back in time to find out which film dethroned Gladiator at the top of the US box office. The film to which Gladiator gave up the number 1 position during its third weekend in theaters is Dinosaurs, a great bet by Disney that has rarely been talked about again. At the time, its visuals stood out and enjoyed unquestionable success – it cost $127 million and grossed $349 million worldwide – but it never tended to stand out among the studio's best-animated films.

Additionally, Dinosaurs was supposed to be a completely different film than the one that hit theaters in 2000, as the origins of the project date back to the late 1980s with Paul Verhoeven and Phil Tippett behind the project. However, Disney was unable to agree with the director on the budget, which ultimately forced him and Tippett to abandon the ship. This led to the project's first revamp, which would have had a much darker and more realistic approach if Verhoeven had directed it. Other directors followed the project, again meeting resistance from Disney, who wanted to opt for a friendlier story with talking dinosaurs. The project eventually came to a halt when it became clear that Jurassic Park would be released first.

The film ended up being revived in late 1994, completely scrapping the initial plan of mixing the use of stop-motion, puppetry, and miniatures to turn it into an animated studio film. Of course, achieving realistic CGI animation was a technological and human challenge that resulted in the film not being released until May 2000. Dinosaurs finally debuted at the US box office with a taking of 38.85 million dollars, surpassing, for example, the 34.2 million with which Tarzan had started its theatrical run the previous year or the 22.7 million Mulan in 1998. However, both films are remembered today with much more affection and appreciation.