Universal Pictures has renamed The Voyage Of Doctor Dolittle to simply Dolittle. The film will still be released wide on its previously announced date of January 17, 2020. .
The move marks yet another shuffling for the film, which originally was slated for an April 12, 2019 release date, then moved to January 17, 2020, which is the four-day MLK weekend.
The move is seen as an effort to capitalize on early winter rolling vacations overseas; not to mention, Q1 has served as a great play period for family fare, including Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle holdover business, which generated close to 60% of its $404.5 million domestic box office after Christmas, not to mention other titles like Disney’s Moana and Fox’s Night at the Museum 1 and 3, which legged out overseas in the January play period.
Dolittle was originally following in the wake of the first weekend of New Line’s Shazam! and on its new date faces Warner Bros’ Just Mercy and possibly Sony’s Bad Boys 3.
The film is billed as “a vivid reimagining of the classic tale of the man who could talk to animals.”
After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company.
But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley, Wild Rose) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.
The doctor is joined on his quest by a young, self-appointed apprentice (Dunkirk’s Harry Collett) and a raucous coterie of animal friends, including an anxious gorilla (Oscar-winner Rami Malek), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck (Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer), a bickering duo of a cynical ostrich (The Big Sick’s Kumail Nanjiani) and an upbeat polar bear (John Cena, Bumblebee) and a headstrong parrot (Oscar-winner Emma Thompson), who serves as Dolittle’s most trusted adviser and confidante.
The film also stars Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen (The Queen) and Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent, and features additional voice performances from Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Carmen Ejogo, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Craig Robinson.
Directed by Academy Award-winner Stephen Gaghan (Syriana, Traffic), Dolittle is produced by Joe Roth and Jeff Kirschenbaum under their Roth/Kirschenbaum Films (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent) and Susan Downey (Sherlock Holmes franchise, The Judge) for Team Downey.
The film is executive produced by Robert Downey Jr., Sarah Bradshaw (The Mummy, Maleficent) and Zachary Roth (Maleficent: Mistress of Evil).