Focus Features scored the rights to the film continuation of popular ITV & PBS period drama “Downton Abbey” a while back and unleashed it this past Fall to massive success – chalking up $196 million at the worldwide box-office.
Domestically the film outgrossed quite a few major studio titles, and did it with a cost-effective budget, so it’s little shock that there is already talk of a sequel. Producer Gareth Neame tells Variety this week that everyone involved is quite open to the idea. Just don’t expect it soon:
“Fortunately, it has worked. It’s Focus Features’ biggest film ever, it broke the record held by ‘Brokeback Mountain’ for many years, it’s Universal’s biggest release in the U.K. all year, and it has so far grossed about $185 million globally. We all enjoyed it. The actors enjoyed it, so hopefully, we’ll find a way to come back for more.”
Indeed Neame and ‘Downton’ creator/writer Julian Fellowes are busy working on the upcoming HBO series “The Gilded Age” which has been in the works for many years. Offering an update on that, he revealed that the workload involved with the show means more ‘Downton’ may have to wait:
“We won’t start shooting [Gilded Age] until March, and there are huge sets going up and we are casting in New York at the moment. Julian is doing a lot of rewrites, and he said, ‘It may delay me thinking further about this “Downton” endeavor.’ I said, ‘I like to think you have two shifts going on, a day shift and night shift, and the TV work can happen during the day and the writing on the “Downton” script at night.'”
The recent film came almost four years after the final season of the TV series aired so a long gap of several years for a sequel could well be possible.