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‘Downton Abbey: A New Era’ release date pushed, here’s why

Downton Abbey: A New Era Hugh Bonneville Michelle Dockery
(Image credit: Focus Features)

Downton Abbey fans are going to have to wait a bit longer for the series latest movie, Downton Abbey: A New Era, to make its way to movie theaters, as it has been announced that it is being moved from its original March 18 release date to April 29 for U.K. audiences and May 20 in the U.S. Focus Features, Universal Pictures International and Carnival Films announced the news, with Deadline among the first to report it.

Unfortunately, highly anticipated movies having their release dates reshuffled has become an all too common thing over the last couple of years. While it is not explicitly mentioned in the official announcement from the studio behind Downton Abbey: A New Era, the move is likely because of the familiar culprit: the COVID pandemic.

The omicron variant has caused spikes in cases across the globe. We've already seen a number of movies delay their releases while omicron has been spiking, including Morbius and Operation Fortune: Ruse De Guerre

While the variants numbers are starting to decrease, with a large portion of the targeted theater-going audience for Downton Abbey: A New Era expected to be older adults, the choice appears to have been made to delay the release and give the U.S. and U.K. markets more time to feel good about going back to the movie theater to see it.

Downton Abbey: A New Era was written by series creator Julian Fellows with Simon Curtis on board to direct the sequel. The movie will see the beloved cast — Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Jim Carter and more —  head to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the Dowager Countess’ newly inherited villa. New additions to the Downton Abbey cast are Hugh Dancy, Laura Haddock, Nathalie Baye and Dominic West.

Watch the trailer for the movie right here:

Downton Abbey: A New Era is one of the most anticipated new movies of 2022. With its new May 20 release date in the U.S., it is joining the animated movie DC League of Super Pets as the only confirmed movie for that weekend (though it’ll be one week ahead of Top Gun: Maverick). 

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.