Universal’s “Dolittle” is on track to be the first box-office dud of the year. Terrible reviews and quiet early box-office combined with a whopping $175 million production budget suggest a costly flop for the studio.
Part of the reason for that large budget has been the film’s famously troubled production with extensive and costly reshoots. Now The Wall Street Journal has done a story on those reshoots, saying they ultimately aimed “to craft a sillier movie more likely to appeal to younger moviegoers and overseas audiences”.
The aim was to possibly offset whatever domestic box office disappointment it might suffer by doing these reshoots which includes a scene with Robert Downey Jr. sticking his arms up a dragon’s rectum to dislodge skeletons bunging it up – and ultimately getting a massive fart in his face as a reward.
In fact, the overall kiddie and silly tone was quite different from the original cut director Stephen Gaghan handed in:
“After test-screening Mr. Gaghan’s initial version of the movie, Universal worried it wasn’t lighthearted enough to connect with children and families around the globe, according to people familiar with the production.
The studio decided the movie needed more computer-generated animals and more laughs, the people said, and called in filmmakers and screenwriters with more experience in the genre. They said these included directors Chris McKay of The Lego Batman Movie and Jonathan Liebesman of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
Script rewrites by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand along with McKay and Liebesman handling the reshoots would insert more jokes including that fart scene.
The film is currently on track for a soft $30 million domestic opening over the four-day holiday weekend.