We’ll have to wait a little longer for tea-time with the Dowager Countess, Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith). Downton Abbey: A New Era, the sequel to 2019’s Downton Abbey, had its release date shifted by its production and distribution companies Focus Features, Universal Pictures International, and Carnival Films. The film, which was previously attached to a March 18 premiere, got pushed back for over a month in the UK and is now only set to premiere in the US in late May. Much like the previous film and original ITV series, the movie is set to follow a family of aristocrats and their servants as they deal with a turn-of-the-century changing world.
As you may have guessed, the news of the shift in release dates comes amid the rising concern of the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, which puts box office numbers on uncertain grounds. The first film proved to be an immense success that reflected people’s interest in the TV series, with a worldwide gross of almost $200 million against a budget of roughly $20 million. The numbers proved that there’s still plenty of interest in the Crawley family, and Downton Abbey: A New Era is highly anticipated by fans of the historical drama.
This is not the first time Downton Abbey: A New Era has been postponed. Following a long-time tradition of specials from famous British TV series, the movie had an original Christmas 2021 release that was ultimately shifted to March 18 both in the UK and the US. Now, British fans will have to wait a month longer and will only return to Downton on April 29, while American fans will only be able to see the new installment in late spring: the movie only opens in US theaters on May 20.
Even though it’s disappointing, Downton Abbey: A New Era’s release schedule shift doesn’t come as a surprise – other highly anticipated titles have been moved due to Omicron uncertainty, including two Mission: Impossible movies, the Quiet Place spin-off, Morbius, John Wick 4, and others.
Downton Abbey: A New Era will uncover buried secrets from the past of Violet Crawley after she reveals she inherited a villa in the South of France from a mysterious man. Returning cast includes Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Penelope Wilton, Allen Leech, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, Sophie McShera, Lesley Nicol, Jim Carter, Tuppence Middleton, Imelda Staunton, Phyllis Logan, Robert James-Collier, Kevin Doyle, and Harry Hadden-Paton. The new film will also bring a fresh batch of new characters played by Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, and Dominic West.
Both Downton films are written by the series creator, Julian Fellowes, who has recently returned to TV with another Historical series, HBO’s The Gilded Age. Downton Abbey: A New Era is directed by three-time Emmy nominee Michael Engler, who also directed the previous movie and several episodes of the hit series.
Downton Abbey: A New Era premieres on April 29 in the UK and on May 20 in the US.