Robert Downey Jr.’s ‘Dolittle’ Salary, Revealed

It pays to talk to animals, at least in the movies. Robert Downey Jr.’s next film is a big-budget remake of 1967’s The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle (which was already rebooted once with Eddie Murphy in the title role). And the Marvel star is being paid handsomely to chat with lions, tigers, and bears.

Robert Downey Jr. was paid $20 million for ‘Dolittle’ 

Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. | The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images

The man who once donned the Iron Man suit is being paid $20 million to play the eccentric Dr. Dolittle in the live-action fantasy adventure film, according to Variety. If he’s lucky, the big paycheck might just be the first of many. He is reportedly hoping the film will be a success and become the first in another franchise. 

In the movie, Dolittle is a famous doctor and veterinarian who’s been living in seclusion on his grand English estate since the death of his wife years earlier. But when Queen Victoria falls ills, he sets out to travel to a remote island in the hopes of finding a cure for the ailing monarch. 

In addition to Antonio Banderas as the king of the pirates and Harry Collett as Dolittle’s young apprentice, the movie features the voices of Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, and more. 

How much money ‘Dolittle’ needs to make at the box office 

Dolittle poster
Dolittle | Universal Pictures

Downey Jr.’s eight-figure salary was just one part of Dolittle’s super-sized budget. The movie cost $175 million to make, according to the Hollywood Reporter. That means it needs to be a genuine box office hit if the studio has any chance of seeing a return on its investment. 

Forbes estimates that Dolittle will have to make $438 million worldwide just to break even. The magazine’s Scott Mendelson warns that if audience don’t take to the flick, it could end up being the next John Carter, an expensive film that famously underperformed at the box office. As of late December, industry experts are predicting that the movie will earn $25 to $30 million in its opening weekend. 

Robert Downey Jr. is one of the highest-paid actors in the world

Avengers Endgame cast
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., and Scarlett Johansson | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

Downey Jr., 54, is currently one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood. In addition to his $20 million Dolittle salary, he earned the same for appearing in Avengers: Endgame. But that was just his base salary for his final MCU appearance. He also earned a generous portion of the film’s profits, which gave him total salary of $55 million for the film, per Forbes’s estimates

The actor’s Marvel payday was big enough to make him the third-highest paid actor in the world in 2019, with total earnings of $66 million. Only Chris Hemsworth ($76.4 million) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ($89.4 million) earned more. As a result of his long string of starring roles in hit movies, Downey Jr. is worth an estimated $300 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth

Dolittle is in theaters on January 17, 2020. 

Read more: Casting Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man Could’ve Been ‘the Biggest Dumpster Fire Ever,’ Kevin Feige Says

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