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Downhill is a 2020 American black comedy drama film directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who also co-wrote the script with Jesse Armstrong. The film is a remake of Force Majeure (2014) by Swedish director Ruben Östlund. It stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell as a married couple going through a rough patch after a near-death encounter during a family ski outing.

Downhill had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2020, and was theatrically released on February 14, 2020, by Searchlight Pictures (its first film under the company's current name) through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. This is the first feature film to be released under the studio's new name following The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $8.9 million worldwide.

Premise

After believing they are about to be killed by an avalanche during a family ski vacation in Ischgl (Austria), a married couple is thrown into disarray as they are forced to reevaluate their lives and how they feel about each other.

Cast

  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Billie Stanton
  • Will Ferrell as Pete Stanton
  • Miranda Otto as Lady Bobo
  • Zoë Chao as Rosie
  • Zach Woods as Zach
  • Kristofer Hivju as Michel
  • Alex Macqueen as Charlie
  • Julian Grey as Finn Stanton
  • Ammon Jacob Ford as Emerson Stanton
  • Giulio Berruti as Guglielmo

Production

It was announced in November 2018 that an English-language remake of the Swedish film Force Majeure would be directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who both co-wrote the script with Jesse Armstrong. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Will Ferrell were cast to star. Miranda Otto, Zoë Chao and Zach Woods also joined the cast, in December.

Filming began in January 2019 in Austria.

Release

Downhill had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2020. The film was released on February 14, 2020, replacing Fox's The King's Man, which had been scheduled for that date.

Home media

Downhill was released on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on May 19, 2020 by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.

Reception

Box office

In the United States and Canada, Downhill was released alongside Sonic the Hedgehog, The Photograph and Fantasy Island, and was projected to gross around $4 million from 2,275 theaters in its four-day opening weekend. It made $2.6 million on its first day and $5.2 million over the four days, finishing tenth.

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 37% based on 198 reviews, with a weighted average of 5.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Fittingly named for a remake whose charms are dwarfed by its superior source material, Downhill is frequently -- and frustratingly -- less than the sum of its talented parts." On Metacritic, the film holds a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "D" on an A+ to F scale, and PostTrak reported it received an average 1 out of 5 stars, with 26% of people saying they would definitely recommend it.

On RogerEbert.com, Nick Allen gave the film 2 out of 4 stars, saying, "It's yet another instance in which it's hard to not think about what could have been, especially since the original did it so much better."

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