Thought it initially surpassed box office expectations, Dolittle is shaping up to be a costly endeavor for Universal Pictures – a studio still reeling from the calamitous Cats, but more on that later.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Robert Downey Jr.’s Dolittle scooped $30 million over the holiday weekend (along with a further $20M overseas), though it’ll take a small miracle for the film to recoup its $175M budget. Why, you ask? Because the CGI-powered adventure film has been torn to shreds by critics, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of just 19 percent. That is… problematic.
It’s the latest big-screen interpretation of Hugh Lofting’s novel series, about a doctor who possesses the ability to speak to animals. Sadly, Dolittle lacks most of the humor (and practically all of the magic) of Lofting’s 1920s classic. The result? An expensive misfire for the Powers That Be at Universal, with THR now projecting a loss of up to $100M when all is said and done.
Twice-delayed, Dolittle has reportedly been plagued by trouble from early in its development. Last October, for instance, a person claiming to be one of the film’s crew members slated “batsh*t” director Stephen Gaghan in a very public Twitter post, which stated that Gaghan operated without much of a plan – let alone creative vision. Universal managed to salvage Dolittle at the 11th hour, but even still, the reviews have not been kind.
Also starring Michael Sheen and the voices of Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, and Marion Cotillard, Dolittle has officially been ‘crowned’ as the first box office bomb of 2020. It’s another costly misfire for Universal Pictures following the disastrous Cats, and we’re intrigued to find out where Robert Downey Jr.’s non-Marvel career goes next.