Will Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Dolittle’ Be the First Big Flop of 2020?

by Jeremy Spirogis
Robert Downey Jr. speaks onstage

For greater than a decade, Robert Downey Jr. has been one of many greatest film stars on the planet. As Tony Stark/Iron Man in 2008’s Iron Man, he served as the muse upon which the Marvel Cinematic Universe was constructed. So when Avengers: Endgame introduced an finish to his run because the character, followers discovered it exhausting to say goodbye to the Avengers star.

From 2008 to 2019, he appeared as Tony Stark in no fewer than 10 movies. Downey’s exit leaves an enormous gap within the MCU, nevertheless it additionally offers the two-time Oscar-nominated actor the chance to pursue different challenges. Unfortunately, Dolittle — Downey’s first post-Marvel gig — isn’t precisely a positive factor.

Robert Downey Jr. speaks onstage
Robert Downey Jr. speaks onstage | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Rainforest Fund

Robert Downey Jr.’s non-Marvel tasks

Before we get to Dolittle, let’s mirror on Downey’s profession for a second. Prior to Iron Man, he delivered memorable performances in movies like Chaplin and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. But it was Marvel Studios who gave him the platform to superstardom. And Downey has correctly made his Marvel work a precedence, incomes thousands and thousands for his half in constructing the MCU.

The draw back of that devotion, nonetheless, is that he has nearly solely performed Tony Stark within the final decade. Since 2010, Downey’s solely different lead roles have been the Todd Phillips comedy Due Date, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and mid-budget household drama The Judge, which he additionally produced.

Of these three, solely the Sherlock Holmes sequel might be thought of a runaway hit. On a reported price range of $125 million, A Game of Shadows earned $543 million worldwide in 2011. That complete even beat the 2009 authentic’s $524 million international take. But Dolittle is the primary Downey-led blockbuster since then through which he gained’t slip into Iron Man’s iconic armor.

‘Dolittle’ has to do rather a lot to show a revenue

Audiences would possibly nonetheless be reeling from Tony Stark’s MCU exit. But the query stays: will they arrive out to see Downey speak to the animals? Universal — which notably simply misplaced a fortune to digital animals — is positioning the movie as family-friendly spectacle.

Yet, today’s youngsters in all probability have little to no familiarity with the supply materials. Dolittle is predicated on a sequence of 1920s kids’s books by Hugh Lofting. His work has been tailored a number of occasions over time, most famously into an Oscar-winning 1967 musical starring Rex Harrison and a 1998 Eddie Murphy comedy.

With a powerful reliance on visible results, Dolittle additionally carries a hefty $175 million price ticket. Director Stephen Gaghan — higher referred to as the screenwriter behind Traffic and Syriana, the latter of which he additionally directed — has by no means dealt with such an enormous undertaking. Plus, there’s that doubtful January launch date, usually a month the place studios dump their lesser releases.

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What else does the actor have within the queue?

Of course, maybe Gaghan and Downey can flip Dolittle right into a shock smash. After all, nobody suspected Downey and director Guy Ritchie might efficiently mud off the Sherlock Holmes character for contemporary audiences. Maybe Downey’s Dolittle will result in an identical big-screen resurgence.

Even if it doesn’t join with moviegoers, Downey has loads of different tasks on his plate. He, in fact, will lastly reprise his position for the already-announced Sherlock Holmes 3. According to his IMDB profile, he’s additionally set to seem in sports activities dramedy All-Star Weekend reverse author/director Jamie Foxx. Then he has an untitled biopic about con man John Brinkley within the works.

We’re nonetheless unsure if Dolittle will reside as much as Universal’s hopes or Downey’s fame. But if there’s one factor the actor has taught us again and again, it’s by no means to rely him out. Now and ceaselessly, he’s Iron Man, however we are able to’t wait to see what else he has up his sleeve.

Dolittle hits theaters on Jan. 17, 2020.

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