Supposedly Italian philosopher George Santayana once said that, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” And looking at the history of the Doctor Dolittle film adaptations, it looks like Santayana was right again with Dolittle.
Dolittle, which stars Robert Downey Jr. as the titular doctor who can talk to animals, just came out this weekend and has already being declared a box office bomb. According to TheWrap, Dolittle only earned $30 million domestically and $50 million internationally, but with a budget of around $175 million, that means the movie could lose as much as $100 million dollars.
Not only is Dolittle failing financially, but it’s also struggling critically. Reviews of the movie are negative at best and savage at worst, with the movie currently scoring 19% on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently a lot of critics were turned off by the film’s reliance on gross 0ut humor, and a many people online (spoiler warning BTW!) are disgusted that the film’s ending involves unclogging a dragon’s anus!
It seems so weird and crazy to think that Universal Studios put all this money into this project. Why Dolittle? Why would a major studio put so much faith into a the Doctor Dolittle ‘brand’ especially after what happened with the original 1967 Doctor Dolittle movie starring Rex Harrison. Like Robert Downey Jr.’s Dolittle, the Rex Harrison adaptation was a huge studio tent pole movie with a big budget and a chaotic production, and it too was a box office bomb. One of the biggest production bombs in Hollywood history, no less.