Robert Downey Jr stars in the movie Dolittle. Picture: Universal Pictures
Robert Downey Jr stars in the movie Dolittle. Picture: Universal Pictures

Downey Jr.’s movie savaged by critics

Robert Downey Jr.'s first role after his final Avengers appearance is projected to lose roughly $146 million after a weak performance at the box office in the US over the weekend.

Downey Jr. stars in Dolittle, another adaptation of Hugh Lofting's Doctor Dolittle novels. The film, which has been savaged by critics, opened at number two over the weekend in the US behind Will Smith and Martin Lawrence's Bad Boys for Life, which opened at $86 million.

Dolittle, however, only scored a meagre $43 million in the US and about $73 million internationally, according to The Wrap. While that may not sound so bad, it's CGI-heavy budget puts production in the $255 million range, meaning it could be on the hook for about $146 million.

Chee-Chee, voiced by Rami Malek, and Dr John Dolittle, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., in Dolittle. Picture: Universal Pictures
Chee-Chee, voiced by Rami Malek, and Dr John Dolittle, portrayed by Robert Downey Jr., in Dolittle. Picture: Universal Pictures

Obviously, it's a less-than-ideal follow up for Downey Jr., 54, to the box office powerhouse that was Avengers: Endgame. Fortunately, there's still some hope that Dolittle can at least break even. The Wrap notes the film has yet to release in more than 20 markets, including potentially lucrative ones such as France, the UK and China.

In the past, movies like Maleficent: Mistress of Evil underperformed at the US domestic box office only to find its audience overseas. Unfortunately, with a 19 per cent score on Rotten Tomatoes, Dolittle has a rain cloud of poor critical reception hanging over it. As a result, it's just as possible that international audiences won't flock to the theatre for the kid-friendly film either.

NPR film critic Scott Tobias said about the film: "Dolittle is a not a film. Dolittle is a crime scene in need of forensic analysis. Something happened here. Something terrible. Something inexplicable."

CNN's Brian Lowry wrote: "Aside from a few broad bouts of animal humour, the whole exercise feels utterly lifeless and a conspicuous waste of time and, given the special effects, what looks like a ridiculous amount of money."

The movie marks the second major box office flop for Universal in recent months. December's Cats underperformed as well. However, with an estimated budget of roughly $131-138 million, the musical's estimated $102 million earnings make it a significantly less hearty financial blow to the studio.

Judi Dench in Cats. Picture: Universal Pictures
Judi Dench in Cats. Picture: Universal Pictures

 

Fortunately, Downey Jr. will have another chance at box office dominance as a third instalment in his and Jude Law's Sherlock Holmes franchise is currently in the works and scheduled for a 2021 release. Meanwhile, Dolittle is in Aussie cinemas now but doesn't open in China until February 21.

 

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission



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