In an attempt to cash in on Gladiator's multiple Oscar nominations, distributor UIP has decided to re-release the sword-and-sandal epic in Italy two weeks before the Academy Awards ceremony takes place.

A spokesperson for UIP said the distributor had officially taken the decision after the Oscar nominations were announced on Wednesday. Gladiator is now set to be released on 50-100 screens nationwide on March 16.

In its first Italian run in 2000, Gladiator grossed $9.56m (L20.35bn) to finish as the year's third highest-earning film. In first place was homegrown Italian comedy Ask Me If I'm Happy, followed by American Beauty. UIP, which also released MI:2, was the year's top-grossing distributor.