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Genie: Release date, cast and plot for Richard Curtis’ new Christmas movie

Love Actually filmmaker Curtis writes a new festive tale for Melissa McCarthy

Bernard and Flora stand in the street. Flora is wearing a bright pink and green fluffy coat.
Paapa Essiedu as Bernard and Melissa McCarthy as Flora in Genie (Sky)

They say Christmas is the time when all of your wishes come true and never has that been more literal than in Genie, the new Christmas story from filmmaker Richard Curtis.

Here, the iconic British director behind Love Actually turns his skills to scriptwriting, adapting his own 1991 work Bernard And The Genie while swapping its London backdrop for Manhattan and bringing comedian Melissa McCarthy along for the ride.

Directed by Sam Boyd, this festive fantasy looks to be loaded with Curtis’ trademark heart and humour, providing the perfect way to restore your faith in humanity while also getting you into the festive spirit.

Want to know more? Your wish is our command. Read on for all the key details you might need about Genie, including its release date, trailers, plot, cast and more.


When will Genie be released?

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Richard Curtis, co-founder of Red Nose Day, speaks on stage as he is joined by Comic Relief stars to reveal “Comic Relief – the Truth & Everything Except the Truth” at Cineworld 02 Arena on March 05, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Genie is based on Richard Curtis' work Bernard and The Genie (Getty Images)

Genie will be released in the UK on Friday, 1 December, allowing you ample time to watch it before Christmas Day arrives. It’s a Sky Original movie, which means it will land on Sky Cinema and be available to watch directly from your sofa.


Is there a trailer for Genie?

The first trailer for Genie arrived in early November and provided all of the Christmassy charm you might expect from a Curtis project. In it, we meet Bernard, a down-on-his-luck Londoner living in New York whose life is swiftly starting to unravel around him.

Thankfully, all that changes when he stumbles upon a new pal with magical powers and soon, anything he can wish for becomes a reality - but will this solve his problems?

Watch the full trailer above.


What is the plot of Genie?

Genie is a story by the brains behind rom-com classics like Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually but it’s also a tale that Curtis has told before.

Released in 1991 under the title Bernard And The Genie, Curtis’ original story took its cues from The Book of One Thousand and One Nights - another tale about a wish-granting genie.

Melissa McCarthy is dressed as a gold star next to a gold and white Christmas tree.
Melissa McCarthy has the power to grant wishes in Genie. (Sky)

Cut to 2023 and this new adaptation tells a similar story about a man named Bernard who finds himself at his wits’ end and on the cusp of losing his wife and family after he misses his daughter’s 12th birthday party.

To make matters worse, his overbearing boss decides to let him go, leading poor Bernard to believe that all is indeed lost. However, when he dusts off a mysterious jewellery box whilst sitting alone in his New York apartment his luck suddenly changes with the arrival of Flora, a genie who’s been trapped for the past 2000 years.

Instead of asking for lavish prizes and lofty social status like many of Flora’s previous owners, Bernard decides to use his new magical pal to try and turn his life around but in the process learns a valuable lesson about the importance of friendship.


Who is in the Genie cast?

Marc Maron is dressed as a doorman standing next to Melissa McCarthy dressed in pink holding shopping bags.
Marc Maron plays a doorman named Lenny in Genie. (Sky)

In Curtis’ original version of this story, Alan Cumming played the titular Bernard opposite Sir Lenny Henry as a magical genie named Josephus. In 2023's edition, Boyd has cast Paapa Essiedu as Bernard with McCarthy stepping into the pointy shoes of a new female genie.

Cumming rejoins the project, this time starring as Bernard’s tyrannical boss Flaxman with Denée Benton appearing as Bernard's wife Julie, comedian Marc Maron as his doorman Lenny and stand-up comic Luis Guzmán as a private detective named Perez.

Tate Ellington and LaChanze will also appear in as-yet-undisclosed roles, with Jordan Macintosh playing Bernard's young daughter Eve.


Genie will be released on Sky Cinema from 1 December 2023.