Robert Downey Jr.’s new take on Doctor Dolittle gets its first poster, and changes titles from The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle to simply Dolittle. The titular physician first made his debut in the 1920 book The Story of Doctor Dolittle, and would go on to appear in 14 further works of children’s literature. What makes Dr. John Dolittle different from most medical professionals is of course his ability to converse with animals, a power that enables both his understanding of them and the reverse.
Dr. Dolittle’s adventures have been adapted for multiple forms of media, although the most famous tend to be his appearances in live-action film. Rex Harrison starred in 1967’s initial Doctor Dolittle film, a musical. Best known to modern audiences are the late-1990s Dr. Dolittle comedies starring Eddie Murphy, which while rated PG-13, sometimes skirted the line of what qualifies as family-friendly humor. Three more direct-to-video sequels to the Murphy films were made, although they’re decidedly tamer, and don’t actually feature Murphy. Instead, the titular doctor is the daughter of Murphy’s character.
One thing both the Rex Harrison movie and the Eddie Murphy movies have in common is being released by 20th Century Fox. Downey Jr.’s Doctor Dolittle movie will arrive courtesy of Universal Studios. Previously titled The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle – a moniker shared by one of the Dolittle books – Deadline now reports that RDJ’s latest star vehicle is now called simply Dolittle. Additionally, the official Dolittle Movie twitter account has released the first official poster for the film, featuring lots of adorable animals. Check it out below.
As noted on the poster, this name change thankfully doesn’t bring with it yet another long delay, as Dolittle will retain its previously announced January 17, 2020 release date. The film was originally set to hit theaters in April of 2019, before being delayed, reportedly to undergo extensive reshoots. While most studio films go through reshoots, Dolittle’s January release date isn’t exactly encouraging, as one would normally think Downey Jr.’s first big movie post-Avengers: Endgame would be a logical candidate for a summer tentpole spot.
Interestingly, Dolittle’s production problems are almost an unintentional nod to the 1967 Doctor Dolittle film, an infamously troubled production. That movie would go on to receive several Oscar nods, although that was despite unfavorable reviews from critics, and a middling box office take. For RDJ’s sake, one hopes his turn bringing Dr. Dolittle to life won’t end up seeing similarly disappointing results. Still, after his beloved tenure as Tony Stark/Iron Man in the MCU, Downey seems all but untouchable.
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Sources: Deadline, Dolittle Movie/Twitter