Multiple film finance experts indicate that the Robert Downey Jr.-led “Dolittle” is on track for a projected loss of around $100 million following an underwhelming global opening weekend launch of $50 million reports The Wrap.
That puts in on track to be an even bigger loss for Universal than last month’s “Cats” which earned less, but kept its financial loss estimates down to around $70 million due to a decidedly tighter budget.
“Dolittle” boasted expensive reshoots and retooling to make it more kid-friendly and included such new scenes as a constipated dragon getting Downey’s arm up its rectum to remove an anal blockage. That pushed its reported production budget up to $175 million which doesn’t include the movie’s marketing and P&A spend.
The film has yet to release in around twenty markets, including key ones such as France and the U.K., and then hits China in late February which could save it. However the days of international saving U.S. flops appear to be mostly over as Hollywood films have been underperforming in China for much of the past year.
Still, every now and then one manages to save its skin as Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” did when a strong $377 million overseas gross saved the $185 million budgeted film from oblivion.
Universal isn’t hurting too much. The studio has Oscar front runner “1917” in cinemas now where it’s doing strong business, and has the cost-effective “The Invisible Man” along with blockbuster juggernauts “No Time to Die” and “Fast and Furious 9” and a new “Minions” film in cinemas in the months to come.