In another universe — that is, before the pandemic — Downton Abbey the film blew away all expectations when it opened to $31 million in September 2019 in a record for specialist house Focus Features.
Many things have changed since then.
The 2019 big-screen adaptation of Julian Fellowes’ hit British TV series has been fueled by moviegoers aged 45 and over – a demo that has been the most reluctant to return to cinemas since the COVID crisis began -19, and especially older women.
Over the weekend, the continuation of Fellowes Downton Abbey: A New Era Time opened at $16 million from 3,815 locations. While this is in line with the follow-up to previews, he is notably behind the first film and highlights the challenges faced by films relying on older consumers who might still be nervous about COVID, and whose Habits have changed in the pandemic era as studios deliver new home releases as early as three weeks via premium VOD.
Certainly, Downton Abbey 2 attracted a lot of attention from those aged 55 and over (48%) in a promising sign, but the number of people who visited was not at the same level as in 2019, when consumers over 55 made up 52% of the opening weekend audience. As with the first film, approximately 70% of A new era audience was female.
Overseas, the well rated Downton Abbey 2 earned north of $35 million.
Written by Fellowes, the film sees the Grantham family travel to southern France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa. There is also the question of a film crew using the Abbey to shoot a film.
Returning main cast members and new additions include 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 and Dominic West.
The photo of Marvel and Disney superheroes Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had no trouble staying atop the charts in its third weekend with $31.6 million for a domestic total of $342.1 million and $803.2 million worldwide to become the #2 Pandemic Era Movie Behind Spider-Man: No Coming Home ($1.8 billion).
Doctor Strange 2 achieved the feat after missing the James Bond photo no time to die ($774.2 million), released late last year, and the most recent superhero pic The Batman ($768.5 million).
Family movies The villains and sonic the hedgehog 2 followed with $6.1 million and $3.9 million, respectively.
Bad guys has now grossed $74.4 million domestically and $182.2 million worldwide, while Sonic 2 is approaching $400 million after finishing Sunday with $181 million domestically and $375 worldwide (a movie that broke the $400 million mark over the weekend was Unexplored).
A24’s popular horror movie Men opened nationwide in 2,212 theaters scheduled for its screening at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend. Directed by Alex Garland, the film placed fifth with approximately $3.3 million.
Fellow A24 title Everything everywhere all at once grossed $3.2 million to bring the film’s domestic total to $52.3 million – the highest-grossing film of all time for the independent distributor after dropping Uncut Gems ($50 million).