“Downton Abbey: A New Era,” the follow-up to the 2019 feature film and the latest in the story of the aristocratic Crawley family established in the hit series, earned $1.05 million in its Thursday box office previews from 3,300 screens. “A New Era” opens on 3,815 screens this weekend, which is the widest opening for a Focus Features film in the specialty distributor’s history.
There are high hopes that “Downton Abbey: A New Era” will be the film that can attract older audiences back to movie theaters in earnest for the first time since the pandemic began, and by grossing over $30 million thus far internationally, including strong showings in the UK and Ireland, those hopes may yet be realized.
Independent analysts say the film has a decent chance of reaching $20 million at the domestic box office, while the studio is projecting a more conservative opening in the low to mid-teens. Either would be below the $31 million opening for the first “Downton” film from 2019, which went on to gross $96.8 million domestically. And for a comparison, the original film in its Thursday previews made $2.1 million from 2,800 theaters.
“Downton Abbey: A New Era” is directed by Simon Curtis and has a script by series creator Julian Fellowes. It also welcomes both series favorites and other newcomers, including Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Jim Carter, Raquel Cassidy, Brendan Coyle, Michelle Dockery, Kevin Doyle, Joanne Froggatt, Michael Fox, Harry Hadden-Paton, Robert James-Collier, Allen Leech, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Sophie McShera, Tuppence Middleton, Lesley Nicol, Douglas Reith, Maggie Smith, Imelda Staunton, Penelope Wilton, Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye, Dominic West and Jonathan Zaccaï.
The film picks up from the events of the first film by having the Crawleys go on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa, all while a silent film crew comes to Downton looking to film inside the estate.
“A New Era” opens against A24’s “Men” from director Alex Garland. It’s projected for a $5 million opening.
The film stars Jessie Buckley and Rory Kinnear in a chilling examination of masculinity in which Kinnear plays nearly every male role in the film. It follows Buckley as a young woman who takes a solo trip to the countryside following the mysterious death of her husband.