Gladiators of Rome is a CGI-animated comedy film written and directed by Iginio Straffi (creator of Winx Club). The movie was produced by Rainbow S.r.l., an animation studio co-owned by Straffi and Viacom. The movie was released by Viacom's Paramount Pictures in the US.
Despite favorable reviews and tie-in promotions, the movie was a "box-office flop" for Rainbow, earning less than 9 million euros against an enormous budget of around 70 million euros (including marketing costs). The huge loss caused Rainbow to cut costs for its other productions and delay the release of Gladiators in international markets.
Left as an orphan by the terrible eruption of Pompeii, young Timo is saved by General Chirone, founder of the most famous Gladiators' Academy of Rome. As a young boy, he grows up surrounded by all kinds of gladiators but shows no interest in becoming one of them. Rather, he is a somewhat apathetic but happy-go-lucky and fun-loving young man, slightly overweight and a bit out of shape. Everything changes when Lucilla, Chirone's beautiful daughter, returns home from Greece. Timo grows fond of Lucilla; however, she is promised to Cassio, considered by many as Rome's best gladiator and a celebrated nephew of the Emperor. Timo badly wants to show Chirone that he's worthy of Lucilla's hand and that he is a better gladiator than Cassio. Temptation causes him to take a shortcut and cheat by using a strengthening potion; however, his glory is short-lived. He is quickly exposed and banished from the Academy. Fate brings Timo across Diana, a mysterious, exotic and sexy trainer. Through a series of bizarre training sequences, Timo evolves into a gladiator fit to fight at the famous opening match of the grand coliseum. Timo faces Cassio in front of a sold-out audience with the goal of proving that he was in fact "born to be a gladiator" that both Rome and Lucilla deserve.