One of the recurring themes of Julian Fellowes’ work is the fact that times change, whether we embrace that fact or not. Through six seasons with the Crawley family’s adventures, we’ve seen this truth play out in both heartbreaking and heartwarming ways. Unfortunately, it looks like that lesson has crossed over into reality yet again, just as the first trailer had audiences hyped for an adventure in the south of France. Sorry Downton Abbey fans, it looks like it’s going to be a bit longer before you can see A New Era; but thankfully this new wait isn’t too far into the future.
Before the joint announcement by Focus Features, Universal Pictures International, and Carnival Films, Downton Abbey: A New Era was set to debut on March 18th. However, thanks to a new shift in the release strategy, UK and US audiences will be seeing the film in “late spring,” and in dates roughly a month apart. The UK will now get to watch the second cinematic chapter of the Crawley legacy unfold on April 29th, while the US will be waiting until May 20th for that very same privilege. Notify your tailors, dressmakers, and house staff accordingly Downton fans.
On the surface, this news is a bit sad, as this isn’t the first release date shift that we’ve seen for the Simon Curtis directed sequel. Though that first delay was for good reason, as the original release date for the Downton Abbey sequel was slated for last Christmas. Were it to have stuck with that strategy, the film would have probably been subject to a similar fate as that of Nightmare Alley and The King’s Man. In other words, the potential death of an iconic character wouldn’t have been the only blood spilled at the box office.
With that in mind, the domestic outlook for Downton Abbey: A New Era’s debut does actually get a bit rosier. March through early May are going to be rather crowded for upcoming movies, with The Batman, Sonic The Hedgehog 2, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness all vying for a piece of the pie. May 20th positions the return of Crawley family to be a potential counterprogramming win, weeks after Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer takes his latest bow. Though the competition on this date in particular does include DC’s League of Super-Pets, and potentially Legally Blonde 3, also kicking off their runs.
Normally, projects like that might be intimidating enough to push Downton Abbey 2 down the road a bit further. But if the Dowager Countess could take on John Rambo back in 2019 and deliver a solid box office win for Focus Features, then maybe the studio brass knows something we don’t. Whatever the reasons may be, we’re going to have to keep the tea warm a little longer waiting for the Crawleys; and the results will speak for themselves when they arrive. Until then, we’ll always have that first trailer to return to. Which, with apologies for the now outdated release date, we’re glad to provide for your viewing pleasure:
Once again, Downton Abbey: A New Era will now hit cinemas in the UK on April 29th, with theaters in the US receiving the film on May 20th. The silver lining to this news is that if you’re someone who’s been meaning to catch up on Downton Abbey’s previous installments, or you happen to just enjoy the show as a continued comfort, you can see it all with a subscription to Peacock Premium. May the wit of Violet Crawley help us through these trying times.