What’s Iron Man up to these days? Without his solo film, the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn’t have taken off. We all wish to see Robert Downey Jr. reprise his iconic role. But we must accept what Endgame gave to us fans. It was the best sendoff we could’ve gotten.
Still, it’s not the end of Downey’s Hollywood career — far from it. Now that he doesn’t have to be the primary face of the MCU, he can explore other stories. In particular, Universal Pictures got him the lead role for an upcoming film based on the Doctor Dolittle character.
Another Established Franchise
Doctor Dolittle is far from being as popular as Iron Man. Some people are familiar with it and the book it came from. But let’s be honest: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle can’t hold a candle to the sprawling comic books featuring Iron Man.
Then again, it’s a franchise — one that’s been around for nearly 100 years. Since 1920, there have been 15 published stories about Doctor Dolittle. Moreover, the character has appeared in various adaptations: radio series, a stage musical, animated series, and movie series.
But can Robert Downey Jr. capture a new audience for the franchise? Will it be as successful as the first two movies starring Eddie Murphy? Both the 1998 Dr. Dolittle and the 2001 Dr. Dolittle 2 made over $100 million at the box office.
A Star-Studded and Familiar Cast
The upcoming Dolittle didn’t hold back with its cast members. Robert Downey Jr. alone would have cost them millions. But there’s one more actor from the MCU joining the team: Tom Holland. It seems that Iron Man and Spider-Man needed one more movie to work together.
Apart from Downey and Holland, we’re also getting Antonio Banderas and Michael Sheen. Banderas won the Best Actor award at Cannes earlier this year for his performance in Pain and Glory. On a similar note, Sheen has numerous awards for his theater and movie projects.
Furthermore, expect to hear the voices of women like Marion Cotillard, Selena Gomez, Octavia Spencer, and Emma Thompson. Even Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek is lending his voice alongside John Cena, Ralph Fiennes, Craig Phillip Robinson, and Kumail Nanjiani.
High Stakes and Competition
Dolittle has a huge $175 million budget — big enough to produce Marvel movie. Thus, Universal Pictures is banking big on both the beloved character and the talented cast. The goal is to repeat the billion-dollar success of The Lion King and Aladdin this year.
But competition is fierce in Hollywood. Everything has to work as intended before its nationwide release. The team began production in February 2018. Three months later, the crew started shooting the live-action parts in Cumbria, England.
Sadly, the initial reception wasn’t good. It wasn’t even called Dolittle back then — it was The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle. The humor wasn’t effective and the effects weren’t amazing enough. As expected, the test screenings forced them to spend three more weeks for re-shoots.
Even if the producers like the current state of Dolittle, there’s another challenge ahead. The final part of the Star Wars Skywalker Saga is premiering on December 20. The Rise of Skywalker will dominate the holiday season, which may affect Dolittle when it arrives on January 17 next year.