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Downton Abbey: A New Era

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Downton Abbey: A New Era
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySimon Curtis
Screenplay byJulian Fellowes
Based onDownton Abbey
by Julian Fellowes
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyAndrew Dunn
Edited byAdam Recht
Music byJohn Lunn
Production
company
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 25 April 2022 (2022-04-25) (Leicester Square)
  • 29 April 2022 (2022-04-29) (United Kingdom)
  • 20 May 2022 (2022-05-20) (United States)
Running time
125 minutes[1]
Countries
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$40 million[2]
Box office$92.7 million[3][4]

Downton Abbey: A New Era is a 2022 historical drama film and the sequel to the 2019 film Downton Abbey. The film was written by Julian Fellowes, the creator and writer of the television series of the same name, and was directed by Simon Curtis.

Downton Abbey: A New Era was released in the United Kingdom on 29 April 2022 by Universal Pictures and was released in the United States on 20 May by Focus Features.[5] The film was not as successful as its predecessor, only grossing $92.7 million, but it received generally positive reviews from critics.

Plot[edit]

In 1928, Tom Branson, the Earl of Grantham's widowed son-in-law, marries Lucy Smith, the illegitimate daughter of and sole heir to Lady Maud Bagshaw, Queen Mary's lady-in-waiting. Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, astonishes the family by revealing that long ago she was given a villa in the South of France by the Marquis de Montmirail, who has recently died. Violet is bequeathing it to her great-granddaughter, Sybbie, the daughter of Tom and the late Lady Sybil Crawley, to ensure that she is more socially and financially on a par with her cousins George, Caroline, Marigold, and Peter.

A film production company wants to use Downton to shoot a silent film called The Gambler. Robert declines, until his eldest daughter and estate manager, Lady Mary Talbot, convinces him that the fee would replace Downton's leaking roof. The household staff are eager to see the film's stars, but lead actress Myrna Dalgliesh's haughtiness offends some of them.

The new marquis de Montmirail invites the Crawley family to visit the villa. The ailing Violet is unable to travel, but Tom and Lucy, Lady Bagshaw, Robert Crawley and his wife Cora, their daughter Edith and her husband, Bertie Pelham, the Marquess of Hexham, accept. Former butler Carson, valet Mr Bates, and lady's maid Miss Baxter accompany the family.

Lady Edith, once again writing for the London-based magazine she owns, uses the trip as a working assignment. Lady Mary remains at Downton to oversee the film crew, assisted by Mrs Hughes.

The Marquis de Montmirail welcomes the family to the villa. His mother contests Violet Crawley's ownership. However, the family lawyer states that there is no basis for a claim, especially as the late Marquis bequeathed the villa to Violet before marrying. The villa is legally Violet's.

The marquis later stuns Robert by implying that Robert's birth date, nine months after the Dowager Countess's 1864 visit, could mean they are half-brothers. That night, Cora tells Robert she may have a fatal illness. Robert breaks down at the prospect of losing his mother, the Crawley name and title, and his wife in short succession.

At Downton, the studio cancels The Gambler because silent films have become unprofitable in the "talkie" era. Lady Mary suggests salvaging the project by dubbing in the dialogue for completed scenes and filming new ones with sound. Lead actor Guy Dexter's resonate voice is suitable, but Myrna Dalgleish's cockney accent is inappropriate for her upper-class character. Mrs Hughes suggests that Lady Mary dub Dalgleish's voice. Fearing her career is ruined, Dalgleish quits, but Downton servants Anna and Daisy persuade her to complete the film. Former Downton footman Mr Molesley, who can lip-read, reconstructs the dialogue for dubbing, and creates a dialogued script.

The family returns to Downton while filming continues. Lady Mary gently rebuffs director Jack Barber's flirtations, although her husband Henry's prolonged absence for a car rally has strained their marriage. Guy Dexter tacitly reveals to Downton's closeted butler, Thomas Barrow, that he is gay. Barrow accepts Dexter's job offer so they can have a life together. Dr Clarkson diagnoses Cora with pernicious anaemia, a treatable condition. Cora helps Dalgleish develop an American accent, potentially saving her career. Edith, unfulfilled and constrained as a marchioness, intends to resume running her London-based magazine. Wanting more privacy, newlywed servants Daisy and Andy successfully scheme to match Daisy's former father-in-law, Mr Mason, and Downton cook Mrs Patmore. When the unpaid movie extras walk out, the Downton staff replace them, ensuring the film's completion. Barber offers Molesley a lucrative deal as a screenwriter. Molesley then proposes to Miss Baxter, unaware that everyone can overhear them on an open microphone.

Violet assures Robert that the late Lord Grantham was his father and that nothing serious occurred between her and the elder Montmirail. Violet's health deteriorates and she ultimately dies, surrounded by family and servants. Mary asks Carson to temporarily return as butler to train footman Andy as Barrow's replacement. Months later, Tom and Lucy, along with Sybbie, return to Downton with their new infant. A new portrait of Violet hangs in the entry hall.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

After the release of the first film in 2019, creator Julian Fellowes and the cast stated that they already had ideas about doing a sequel.[18] In January 2020, it was reported that Fellowes would begin working on it after he finished scripting drama series The Gilded Age.[19] In September 2020, Jim Carter, who plays Carson, said that the script for the sequel had been written,[20] and in February 2021, Hugh Bonneville, who plays Robert, stated in an interview with BBC Radio 2 that once the cast and crew had been vaccinated for COVID-19, the film would be made.[21]

Principal photography was originally scheduled to take place from 12 June to 12 August 2021, in Hampshire, England,[22] but Deadline Hollywood confirmed that production had started in mid-April 2021.[23] On 16 July 2021, Elizabeth McGovern announced on Instagram that she had completed filming.[24] On 25 August 2021, the film's title Downton Abbey: A New Era was announced.[25][26]

The principal cast of the first film returned. Joining the cast are Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, Dominic West and Jonathan Zaccaï.[23]

Soundtrack[edit]

Downton Abbey: A New Era (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
Released29 April 2022 (2022-04-29)
Genre
Length53:19
Label
ProducerJohn Lunn

Downton Abbey: A New Era (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is the film's soundtrack album and musical score album of the same name, composed by John Lunn and performed by The Chamber Orchestra of London with the voice of Cherise Adams-Burnett featured on two tracks. It was released on 29 April 2022 on CD, digital download and vinyl by Decca Gold, Decca Records and Universal Music.

All music is composed by John Lunn

No.TitleLength
1."A New Era"5:22
2."Kinema"1:55
3."Côte d'Azur"3:15
4."Guy"1:47
5."All Aboard"1:41
6."The Handsome Mr Barber"1:56
7."Crazy Rhythm"2:13
8."The Gambler"2:04
9."Le Chapeau De Carson"2:00
10."That I Do Remember"2:33
11."First Draft"1:15
12."Am I Blue"3:18
13."Then You're In Luck"3:09
14."Violet Mon Adorée"3:26
15."Good News, Bad News"2:07
16."The Last Farewell"3:26
17."Cortege"3:25
18."Next Generation"1:13
19."Downton Abbey - The Suite"7:06
Total length:53:19

Release[edit]

Downton Abbey: A New Era was scheduled originally to be released in cinemas on 22 December 2021,[27][28] before having its release date moved to 18 March 2022,[29] and subsequently to 29 April in the UK, and 20 May in North America.[5] The film premiered at Leicester Square in London on 25 April 2022.[30][31]

The film was originally set to stream in the United States on Peacock on 4 July, 45 days after its American theatrical release,[32] but it was released to the streaming service on 24 June 2022, earlier than planned.[33]

It was released on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD and digital download on 5 July 2022 by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (through Studio Distribution Services LLC) in the United States, and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on 15 August 2022 by Universal through Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in the United Kingdom.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Downton Abbey: A New Era grossed $44.2 million in the United States and Canada and $48.5 million in other countries, for a worldwide total of $92.7 million.[3][4]

In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside Men, and was projected to gross $16–21 million from 3,820 cinemas over its opening weekend.[34][35] It made $7.4 million on its first day, including $1 million from Thursday night previews. The film went on to debut at $16 million and finished second at the box office,[36] thus opening at the lower end of projections. 48% of the opening weekend audience was over the age of 55 and Deadline Hollywood said it "repped the first time [exhibitors] saw older patrons since pre-pandemic".[2] In its second weekend the film fell 64% to $5.8 million (and a total of $7.4 million over the four-day Memorial Day frame), finishing fourth.[37][38] The large drop was attributed in-part to newcomer Top Gun: Maverick, whose audience was 55% over the age of 35, sharing much of the same demographics as A New Era.[39] It then made $3.2 million in its third weekend,[40] $1.8 million in its fourth,[41] and $828,265 in its fifth,[42] before dropping out of the box office top ten in its sixth.[43]

Outside of the United States and Canada, the film earned $9.3 million from 33 markets in its opening weekend. This included $3.8 million in the United Kingdom from 746 cinemas (the second-widest release of all-time, after No Time to Die in 2021), and $1.3 million in Australia.[44] The film added $6.6 million in its second weekend,[45] $3.6 million in its third,[46] $3.8 million in its fourth,[47] and $2.2 million in its fifth.[48] It made an additional $715,000 in its seventh weekend.[49]

Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 86% of 198 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The website's consensus reads: "While Downton Abbey's frothiness comes close to curdling into outright suds, A New Era's familiar comforts will please longtime fans."[50] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 63 out of 100, based on 46 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[51] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale (same as the first film), while PostTrak reported 93% of audience members gave it a positive score, with 79% saying they would definitely recommend it.[2]

Sequel[edit]

On 13 May 2024 it was announced that a third film was in production, with the most of the cast returning from the previous film with Joely Richardson, Alessandro Nivola, Simon Russell Beale and Arty Froushan as new characters.[52]

Accolades[edit]

Date Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Notes
2022 35th Golden Rooster Awards Best Foreign Language Film Downton Abbey: A New Era Nominated [53]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]