Late Night (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nisha Ganatra|
|Written by||Mindy Kaling|
|Music by||Lesley Barber|
|Edited by||Eleanor Infante|
|Distributed by||Amazon Studios|
|Box office||$6 million|
Late Night is a 2019 American comedy-drama film directed by Nisha Ganatra from a screenplay by Mindy Kaling. It stars Emma Thompson, Kaling, Max Casella, Hugh Dancy, John Lithgow, Denis O'Hare, Reid Scott, and Amy Ryan. The plot follows the host of a late-night talk show who teams up with one of her new staff writers in an attempt to save the show.
The project was first announced in 2016, with Fox 2000 Pictures set to produce Kaling's script and Paul Feig signed on to direct. In August 2017 Ganatra replaced Feig and the film was picked up by FilmNation Entertainment. Much of the cast joined in April 2018 and filming began later that month in New York City. Following its premiere at Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2019, Amazon Studios bought the domestic distribution rights for a record $13 million.
Late Night was theatrically released in the United States on June 7, 2019. The film received positive reviews from critics, with praise for its social satire and commentary, as well as Thompson's performance.
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Legendary talk-show host Katherine Newbury is a pioneer in her field. The only woman ever to have a long-running program on late night, she keeps her writers’ room on a short leash ― and all male. But when her ratings plummet and she is accused of being a “woman who hates women,” Katherine puts gender equality on her to-do list and impulsively hires Molly Patel, a chemical plant efficiency expert from suburban Pennsylvania, as the first and only female on her writing staff.
With rumors swirling that Katherine is being replaced by a younger, hipper male host, she demands that the writers make her funny and relevant again. A lifelong fan, Molly is determined to prove she’s not just a diversity hire, but the one person who can turn her idol’s career around. Going against everything Katherine has staked her reputation on, she urges her to make the show more contemporary, authentic and personal, a move that could make Molly’s career ― or send her back to the chemical plant for good.
- Emma Thompson as Katherine Newbury
- Mindy Kaling as Molly Patel
- John Lithgow as Walter Newbury
- Hugh Dancy as Charlie Fain
- Reid Scott as Tom Campbell
- Max Casella as Burditt
- Denis O'Hare as Brad
- Amy Ryan as Caroline Morton
- Paul Walter Hauser as Mancusco
- John Early as Reynolds
- Megalyn Echikunwoke as Robin
- Ike Barinholtz as Daniel Tennant
- Annaleigh Ashford as Mimi Mismatch
- Halston Sage as Zoe Martlin
- Marc Kudisch as Billy Kastner
In September 2016, it was reported that Fox 2000 had bought the rights to the project, which was written by Mindy Kaling, who was also set to costar in it alongside Emma Thompson. In November 2016, Paul Feig signed on to direct the film. However, in August 2017, Nisha Ganatra was announced to direct the film when Feig dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
In February 2018, it was reported that, in a pre-2018 Berlin Film Festival movie, 30West and FilmNation Entertainment would co-finance the film and sell distribution rights. In April 2018, John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy, Reid Scott, Paul Walter Hauser, Denis O’Hare, John Early, Max Casella and Megalyn Echikunwoke joined the cast, with filming commencing April 23, 2018 in New York. Amy Ryan joined the cast in May.
Late Night had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2019. Shortly after, Amazon Studios acquired U.S. distribution rights to the film for $13 million, the largest sum paid for U.S.-only distribution at the festival.
The film was released in the United States on June 7, 2019. In May 2019, it was announced the film would begin with a limited run in Los Angeles and New York City on the planned June 7 date before going wide the following week. Amazon spent $35 million on promotions and advertisements for the film.
In its limited opening weekend the film made $249,694 from four theaters, for a per-venue average of $62,414, the second-best of 2019. The film expanded alongside the releases of Men in Black: International and Shaft, and was projected to gross $5 million from 2,218 theaters over the weekend. The ended up grossing $5.1 million over the weekend, finishing ninth.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 81% based on 195 reviews, with an average rating of 6.87/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Smart, timely, and brought to life by a terrific cast, Late Night is a workplace comedy with a lot of heart – and just as many laughs." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 3.5 out of 5 stars, with women (who made up 71% of the demographic) gave it an overall positive score of 80%.
A.O. Scott of The New York Times describes the film's humor as "sharp" yet "cruelty-free", and wrote "[Late Night] argues that entertainment benefits from the presence of different faces and voices not by preaching but by example." Owen Gleiberman of Variety magazine called the film "lively yet scattershot" and praised Thompson's performance, saying "Thompson truly seems like a born talk-show host. Even when she's just riffing, she grounds Late Night in something real." Anthony Kaufman of ScreenDaily also praised Thompson for "a memorable performance as the abrasive 'cold witch,' as someone describes her, perhaps even outdoing Meryl Streep's Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada as a delightfully wicked woman of power."
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