We've received a lot of requests here at BMD to cover the new Doctor Dolittle trailer and, honestly, those requests have surprised us. Everything about the film's troubled production - from its out-of-control budget, to the conflicts between its cast and crew - has been widely publicized. We figured we'd be beating a dead giraffe if we jumped on this trailer that (big surpise) nobody seems to like, anyways.
But since some of you are dying to know our thoughts (and probably get some space to dogpile on the trailer for yourselves), who are we to disappoint?
Without further ado, here's the Dolittle trailer (commentary will follow):
So yeah, it's safe to say that this isn't going to be the hit that 20th Century Fox needs it to be, especially after they blew $17 million on it instead of the $6 million it was supposed to come under. As you might expect, a large portion of that budget went to the handling of the animals and animal-related mishaps. A couple of incidents involving giraffes: one died on set and wasn't covered by insurance, and another giraffe reportedly "stepped on his own cock" and caused a three-day production delay. There's a story about a flock of swimming ducks that got stage-fright and would sink when they were on camera, much to the chagrin of the crew members who repeatedly had to dive in and save them. While not necessarily an animal mishap per se, there was also a PR gaffe regarding the giant snail prop from one of the film's key scenes. Apparently the locals of Saint Lucia (where the film was shot) were throwing rocks at the snail prop because it reminded them of a gastrointestinal epidemic which was brought to the island by freshwater snails.
But even with all these animal-related expenses, the biggest cost of the film by far has been its star, Rex Harrison. Coming off of the smash hit My Fair Lady, Harrison was able to make all sorts of demands because Dolittle needed his Broadway credibility. As you probably heard in some Reddit thread, some of Harrison's demands proved too steep, and the producers made moves to replace him with Christopher Plummer. But in the end, Harrison agreed to negotiate, wherein an agreement was made that he would remain the star. Christopher Plummer was still able to walk away with this agreed upon salary, despite having never set foot on the Dolittle set.
And I haven't even gotten into Harrison's controversial (read: racist and antisemitic) treatment of Doctor Dolittle's cast and crew.
It's unfortunate that so much went wrong behind the scenes of what looks to be a stiff and tonally abhorrent film. It's nuts how a studio can blow barrels of cash on a film that nobody's asked for, just because it has an established brand name and a popular actor.