I will be honest, I thought if anyone was going down it was going to be Sony Pictures. Flop after flop and the inability to buy themselves a hit made them look like a dead studio walking. Now Universal say “Hold my beer!”
Hot on the heels of Cats being one of the most hilariously misjudged cinematic events of all time, Universal have followed up that disaster with Dolittle. Two massive duds in a row. How massive?
Cats cost over $100m and is currently at around $65m in box-office. Dolittle had a gargantuan budget of $175m. It’s got terrible reviews and is playing to empty theatres nationwide.
Part of the reason for the huge budget is the troubled production history. There were extensive and costly reshoots. The Wall Street Journal looked into the production and stated the reshoots were done specifically:
“…to craft a sillier movie more likely to appeal to younger moviegoers and overseas audiences…”
A laudable aim to try and mitigate concerns over domestic box office. However what they ended up with was Robert Downey Jr with his arm in a dragon’s ass and a fart in the face. Those silly overseas audiences!
This is apparently not what director Stephen Gaghan had in mind:
“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.”
Apparently script rewrites by Dan Gregor and Doug Mand we’re responsible for that scene, with McKay and Liebesman directing the reshoots.
The movie currently stands at $30m in ticket sales. When has studio tinkering ever, in the history of cinema, had a positive outcome?