Off the heels of Avengers: Endgame, Robert Downey Jr. changed gears and decided to star in Dolittle, a family-friendly movie about a physician who can speak with animals. Unfortunately, Dolittle flopped critically and at the box office. Now, Seth Rogen says the studio knew beforehand that Dolittle had some problems.
To promote his latest movie, HBO Max's An American Pickle, Seth Rogen appeared on The Howard Stern Show and spoke on a wide range of topics, from a Pineapple Express sequel to coming on board the Dolittle project to help with script doctoring. Seth Rogen compared selling a movie to buying a blueprint that looks good in theory, but when actually built, it doesn’t hold up. He seemed to think that was the case with Dolittle. Here’s what Rogen said:
Some movies are like scams. It’s like buying blueprints to a house that looks nice, but when you try to actually build the house it doesn’t stand up properly. That is a thing that happens with films and I recognize it sometimes. Where I will see a movie and be like, ‘Oh they lied, whoever wrote and directed this movie lied.’ They made it seem like they were selling the studio an actual, functional film but they did not. They sold them like the schematics of a movie that when built does not hold up to stress testing. I’ll only say this because it was reported and I’m going to tread lightly because I am close with many of the people involved, but I did that on the Dr. Dolittle film.
This certainly sheds a little more light on Dolittle’s poor performance. Back in January, we heard that the studio saw the original cut of Dolittle back in 2018 and wasn’t happy with the result; it wasn’t the family-friendly movie the executives thought it was supposed to be, it didn’t involve many special effects, and it had a sad ending.
Of course, that’s when Seth Rogen and Neighbors co-writer Brendan O’Brien were brought on board by Universal to help fix the script and make it funnier. So it sounds like Seth Rogen did what he could for the film, but also realized there might just be structural problems that are tough to remedy. Here’s what he said later about being a script doctor:
It’s like, on the grand scale of positions to be in as a writer, it’s a cushy position to be in. Stakes are low for you personally in that role which is nice. But it’s also like, you want to help! I like movies and I like reactors in that movie and I don’t want anyone to not be happy with the movie. Universal, who made that movie, have been very supportive of me and my career and made a lot of our movies…They were having problems with the movie and were calling in people to help kind of get to the bottom of it.
Seth Rogen eventually had to leave the project. Later on, more filmmakers, like Chris McKay and Jonathan Liebesman, were brought on board to assuage Dolittle's problems. However, the end result seemed to be a case of too many cooks in the kitchen to save a movie the studio didn’t like.
Be sure read CinemaBlend's review of Dolittle and keep checking back for all the latest movie news.