Downey Jr. stars in “Dolittle,” another adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s “Doctor Dolittle” novels. The film opened at No. 2 over the weekend behind Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s “Bad Boys for Life,” which opened at $59 million in the U.S.
“Dolittle,” however, only scored a meager $30 million in the U.S. and about $50 million internationally, according to TheWrap. While that may not sound so bad, it’s CGI-heavy budget puts production in the $175 million range, meaning it could be on the hook for about $100 million.
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. TheWrap notes that the film has yet to release in more than 20 markets, including potentially lucrative ones such as France, the U.K. and China.
In the past, movies like “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” underperformed at the domestic box office only to find its audience overseas. Unfortunately, with a 19 percent 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 theater for the kid-friendly film either.
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 $90-95 million, the musical’s estimated $70 million earnings make it a significantly less hearty financial blow to the studio.
Fortunately, Downey Jr. will have another chance at box office dominance as a third installment in his and Jude Law’s “Sherlock Holmes” franchise is currently in the works and scheduled for a 2021 release. Meanwhile, "Dolittle" doesn't open in China until Feb. 21.