Late Night (film)

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Late Night
Late Night poster.jpeg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byNisha Ganatra
Produced by
Written byMindy Kaling
Music byLesley Barber
CinematographyMatthew Clark
Edited byEleanor Infante
Distributed byAmazon Studios
Release date
  • January 25, 2019 (2019-01-25) (Sundance)
  • June 7, 2019 (2019-06-07) (United States)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$4 million[2]
Box office$6 million[3]

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.[4]


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.



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.[5][6] In November 2016, Paul Feig signed on to direct the film.[7] However, in August 2017, Nisha Ganatra was announced to direct the film when Feig dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.[8]

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.[9][10] 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.[9][10][11][12][13] Amy Ryan joined the cast in May.[14]


Late Night had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2019.[15] 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.[16]

The film was released in the United States on June 7, 2019.[17] 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.[18] Amazon spent $35 million on promotions and advertisements for the film.[19]


Box office[edit]

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.[20] 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.[21] The ended up grossing $5.1 million over the weekend, finishing ninth.[19]

Critical response[edit]

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."[22] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[23] 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%.[19]

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."[24] 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."[25] 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."[26]


  1. ^ "LATE NIGHT (15)". British Board of Film Classification. May 28, 2019. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  2. ^ "Late Night – Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  3. ^ "Late Night (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  4. ^ Gabriella Geisinger (June 6, 2019). "Late Night reviews: 'Ludicrous comedy' 'has a lot of heart' and is full of 'INCISIVE barbs". Daily Express. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  5. ^ "Fox 2000 Nabs Mindy Kaling's Hot Late-Night Talk Show Script (Exclusive)". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (28 September 2016). "Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson to Star in Late-Night Talk Show Film (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  7. ^ Lang, Brent (3 November 2016). "Paul Feig in Talks to Direct Mindy Kaling Comedy (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  8. ^ Rebecca Ford (4 August 2017). "Mindy Kaling Comedy 'Late Night' Taps 'Transparent' Director (Exclusive)". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b McNary, Dave (6 February 2018). "30West, FilmNation Back Mindy Kaling-Emma Thompson's 'Late Night'". Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  10. ^ a b JEREMY KAY (6 February 2018). "Mindy Kaling, Emma Thompson to star in 'Late Night' for 30WEST, FilmNation". Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  11. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (16 April 2018). "John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy & Others Join Mindy Kaling-Emma Thompson Comedy 'Late Night'". Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  12. ^ Hipes, Patrick (24 April 2018). "Denis O'Hare & More Round Out Cast Of 'Late Night'". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  13. ^ McNary, Dave (24 April 2018). "Film News Roundup: Denis O'Hare, John Early Join Mindy Kaling's Comedy 'Late Night'". Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  14. ^ Andreas Wiseman (May 2, 2018). "Amy Ryan Joins Mindy Kaling And Emma Thompson In FilmNation-30West Talk Show Comedy 'Late Night'".
  15. ^ Debruge, Peter (November 28, 2018). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils 2019 Features Lineup". Variety. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  16. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (January 26, 2019). "Amazon Closing Sundance Record $13M U.S. Rights Deal For 'Late Night'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
  17. ^ Lang, Brent (February 28, 2019). "Mindy Kaling's 'Late Night' Opening in June". Variety. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  18. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (May 28, 2019). "Mindy Kaling's 'Late Night' Will Go Wide A Week Later". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 28, 2019.
  19. ^ a b c D'Alessandro, Anthony (June 16, 2019). "'Men In Black: International' Domestic Passport Revoked With $26M Opening, 'Shaft' Drops His Gun With $7M+: Summer Sequelitis, Here We Go Again". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  20. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (June 9, 2019). "'Secret Life Of Pets 2' Seeing $47M+, But 'Dark Phoenix' Up In Smoke With $32M+ In Lowest Opening For 'X-Men' Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 9, 2019.
  21. ^ Jeremy Fuster (June 11, 2019). "Can 'Men in Black: International' Bring in Moviegoers Without Will Smith?". TheWrap. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  22. ^ "Late Night (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  23. ^ "Late Night reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  24. ^
  25. ^ Owen Gleiberman. "Film Review: Late Night". Variety.
  26. ^ Anthony Kaufman (January 25, 2019). "Sundance Review: Late Night". ScreenDaily. Retrieved May 19, 2019.

External links[edit]