Ahead of the movie's release in theaters this January, Universal Pictures has released the first official poster for Dolittle. Starring Robert Downey Jr. as the titular doctor, the poster gives us our first look at the actor in the role. In the image, Downey's Dr. Dolittle is surrounded by many of his animal friends, played by a variety of Hollywood stars. This includes Tom Holland as a dog, Octavia Spencer as a duck, Kumail Nanjiani as an ostrich, John Cena as a polar bear, Craig Robinson as a mouse, Selena Gomez as a giraffe, Marion Cotillard as a fox, and Rami Malek as a gorilla. Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Harry Collett, and Jim Broadbent will also appear in live-action roles.
Dolittle is directed by Stephen Gaghan using a screenplay co-written by Gaghan and Thomas Shepherd. It will serve as a complete reboot of the franchise, bearing no connection to the previous installments of the movie series. Robert Downey Jr. stars in the movie as Dr. Dolittle, a veterinarian who possesses the extraordinary ability to communicate with animals. Susan Downey, Jeff Kirschenbaum, and Joe Roth are producing, with Danny Elfman providing the score. The movie had originally been given a 2019 release date, though it was later pushed back to 2020 so as not to compete with Avengers: Endgame and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Created by Hugh Lofting, the Dr. Dolittle character first appeared in the 1920 book The Story of Dr. Dolittle. It marked the first of a long-running book series, each one featuring the character using his abilities to speak with animals to better understand nature. Lofting continued to pen new titles in the series until his death in 1947, though books containing some of his unfinished work continued to be released posthumously. The following decades would then see a variety of adaptations of the Dr. Dolittle story across many mediums, including a radio series, animated projects, and multiple feature films based on the stories.
Of course, the most well-known adaptation of Dr. Dolittle is the 1998 movie starring Eddie Murphy as the titular vet. Its notable voice cast for the animals included Al Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Jenna Elfman, Gilbert Gottfried, Norm Macdonald, Garry Shandling, Paul Reubens, and Chris Rock. Earning nearly $300 million against a budget of $70.5 million, the movie was a huge success, leading to Murphy later reprising the role in the 2001 sequel Dr. Dolittle 2. The 2006 follow-up Dr. Dolittle 3 features Kyla Pratt returning as Dr. Dolittle's daughter from the first two movies, taking over as the lead character of the franchise. She would again reprise the role for the 2008 and 2009 sequels Tail to the Chief and Million Dollar Mutts.
After giving new life to other franchise characters like Sherlock Holmes and Tony Stark, it will be interesting to see Downey's take on Dr. Dolittle. It seems that if there's anyone who could make it work, it's definitely him. Dolittle will be released in theaters by Universal Pictures on Jan. 17, 2020. The poster for the movie comes to us from Dolittle on Twitter.