'Dolittle' bombs at the box office, and could lose studio £77 million

Ben Arnold
Contributor
(Credit: Universal)

Robert Downey Jr's Dolittle has tanked at the box office, and could cost Universal a hefty sum in losses unless it picks up pace.

It made just $30 million - £23 million - in the US over its four-day opening weekend, and a further $27 million (£20.7 million) abroad, making $57.3 million (just over £44 million) worldwide.

This wouldn't be such an issue, but the fantasy family movie cost an eye-watering $175 million (£134 million) to make, perhaps connected to its star-laden cast.

Read more: Dolittle is getting panned

Joining Downey Jr on the bill are the likes of Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Jim Broadbent, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez and Marion Cotillard.

It takes most from the 1922 book by Hugh Lofting, The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle, one of the longest and most mature of his series of books about a physician who can talk to animals.

(Credit: Universal)

According to The Wrap, box office analysts are now reckoning that it could end up costing Universal Pictures $100 million - around £77 million - in losses.

Things began woefully straight out of the gate, with Downey Jr's first post-Avengers movie taking panning from the critics.

An unusual choice of writer/director – Stephen Gaghan, maker of serious dramas like Traffic and Syriana – and a meandering plot left the film with unenviable Rotten Tomatoes score of 18% fresh.

Per Variety: “What should have been an awe-filled adventure quickly curdles into an awful one, thanks to a pedestrian formula and the filmmakers' fixation on fart jokes.”

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The studio is hoping that it can pick up pace in markets like the UK, when it arrives on February 7, and China on February 21.

If it 'over-performs', there's a chance it could break even, but those terrible reviews might end up weighing heavy on the film's future.

It follows hot on the heels of Universal's other recent box office disaster, Tom Hooper's adaptation of Cats.

But while Cats is expected to lose around $70 million, it costs significantly less that Dolittle, coming in at around $90 million to make.