Universal’s Downton Abbey: A New Era looks to revive a flagging box office this weekend, as the second-widest opening of all time in the UK and Ireland.
Those films started with £21m and £14.4m respectively. Despite the wide opening, an eight-figure start is probably beyond A New Era; the first Downton Abbey film started with £5.2m from 732 sites in September 2019, though that was comfortably enough to top the charts.
That title went on to a £28.3m total; A New Era will certainly look to push beyond the £20m mark. The success of Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (£20.2m as of last weekend) and Sing 2 (£32.7m) in recent weeks have shown it is possible to improve on a pre-pandemic number with a sequel.
Spun off from the six-season TV show that ran from 2010 to 2015, this sequel is set between the titular house where a film crew has arrived, and the south of France, where the dowager countess has inherited an enormous villa.
Maggie Smith, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Allen Leech and Laura Carmichael are among the returning faces, with new cast Dominic West, Hugh Dancy and Laura Haddock.
Queen of the mountains
Modern Films is distributing Marie Amiguet and Vincent Munier’s documentary The Velvet Queen in 38 locations. The film sees wildlife photographer Munier take adventurer and novelist Sylvain Tesson with him on a mission to spot the rare snow leopard. Nick Cave and Warren Ellis of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds provided the original score.
The film debuted in the Cinema for the Climate section at Cannes 2021, going on to play IDFA, Zurich and Les Arcs, and winning best documentary prizes at France’s Cesars and Lumieres among others.
Another Cannes 2021 title, Nabil Ayouch’s Competition entry Casablanca Beats, will open in 26 sites through Curzon. The music drama centres on a former rapper employed in a cultural centre, who encourages students to free themselves from the weight of their traditions.
It is an eighth feature for Franco-Moroccan director Ayouch, and his first to receive a UK-Ireland theatrical release since Ali Zaoua in 2002.
Bollywood cinema continues to find space in UK-Ireland cinemas, following from the success of S.S. Rajamouli’s RRR earlier this year through Dreamz Entertainment.
Dreamz is back this weekend with Koratala Siva’s action drama Acharya in 71 sites. Starring Indian actor Chiranjeevi, the film follows a Naxalite – a radical Indian communist – who launches a fight against the endowments department over the misappropriation of temple funds and donations.
Also in Bollywood fare, Cinestaan has Ahmed Khan and Akash Solanki’s action romance sequel Heropanti 2.
Lightbulb Film Distribution is playing Jane Schoenbrun’s horror We’re All Going To The World’s Fair in 17 sites. The film follows a teenager immersed in an online role-playing game, who begins to document the changes that may or may not be happening to her.
Dartmouth Films has Klaartje Quirijns’ documentary Your Mum And Dad: A Devastating Truth.