Nisha Ganatra directs the film, which Kaling wrote, produced, and stars in alongside Emma Thompson. The film scored a massive $13 million domestic distribution deal at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, the biggest pact in the history of the festival for U.S. rights. There’s a reason for the rich payday. The film looks at a “diversity hire” in a late-night talk show writer’s room at a time when the entertainment business is being pressured to become more inclusive. Plus, the reviews were great, Kaling has impressive social media skills, and Amazon went into Sundance without many films on its release slate.
Kaling plays a writer who is hired as the show’s only female joke-smith and Thompson portrays a talk show host whose zingers have grown stale. The cast includes John Lithgow, Max Casella, Hugh Dancy, Denis O’Hare, Reid Scott, Ike Barinholtz, John Early, Paul Walter Hauser, and Amy Ryan.
“Late Night” will get a wide release. The film will have to contend with the opening weekends of “Dark Phoenix,” the latest X-Men movie, and “The Secret Life of Pets 2.”
Amazon Studios’ 2019 slate includes Mike Leigh’s “Peterloo,” Bert & Bertie’s “Troop Zero” starring Viola Davis, and a range of Sundance pick-ups. These include Paul Downs Colaizzo’s “Brittany Runs a Marathon,” “The Report” starring Adam Driver and Annette Bening, and Alma Har’el’s “Honey Boy” starring Shia LaBeouf.
“Late Night” is produced by Howard Klein, Ben Browning, and Jillian Apfelbaum. FilmNation Entertainment and 30WEST co-financed, with FilmNation handling international sales.
Kaling announced the release date with the below video:
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the release dates of “Dark Phoenix” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2.”