Robert Downey Jr. Gets Candid on His Post-Avengers Flop

Robert Downey Jr. Gets Candid on His Post-Avengers Flop
Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Universal Pictures

2020's Dolittle was an embarrassing failure, but the actor doesn't see it as a failure, but rather a valuable lesson in humility.


  • Becoming part of the MCU proved to be a life-changing decision for Robert Downey Jr. that saved his acting career
  • However, his very first project after leaving the franchise, Dolittle, turned out to be a massive flop
  • The actor believes that the movie's failure was a blessing in disguise because it taught him a great lesson

After being the face of the MCU for over a decade the actor left the franchise, but his next project turned out to be a total disaster.

Robert Downey Jr. is one of the most famous examples of how an actor can do the impossible, not only resurrecting a virtually dead career, but taking it to new heights and becoming an international superstar.

Although the actor starred in several critically acclaimed roles in his early years, beginning in 1996, Downey Jr. had frequent run-ins with the law due to his drug addiction, which severely damaged his only recently blossomed career.

This dire situation continued for several years until Downey Jr. was invited to appear in a movie about a then relatively obscure superhero, which ended up changing his entire life.

Iron Man Saved The Actor's Entire Career

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2008's Iron Man was a game changer, launching the massively successful MCU and making Downey Jr. its biggest star, leading to the actor portraying Tony Stark for more than a decade until his departure from the franchise after 2019's Avengers: Endgame.

Though he continued to star in other projects during his time in the MCU, the actor could always count on the franchise, as almost every Marvel movie he appeared in was destined for success.

But after Endgame, it was time for Downey Jr. to prove once again that his acting talents were not limited to portraying Tony Stark, and thus mark a new chapter in his career.

In an unfortunate turn of events, Downey's very first project after leaving the MCU, 2020's Dolittle, turned out to be a massive flop that no one could have expected given his status as one of the most famous actors of the modern era.

The movie was absolutely decimated by critics, and even though fans were more positive in their reviews, it didn't help the movie at all, leading to it becoming a massive box office flop.

With a budget of approximately $192.4 million, not including huge marketing expenses, it was estimated that the film would need to gross over $500 million to break even, but it only managed to make $251.5 million worldwide.

RDJ Believes That Dolittle's Flop Actually Helped Him

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During his recent appearance on the Literally! podcast with Rob Lowe, Robert Downey Jr. reflected on this tough experience, mentioning that he felt quite exposed after leaving the "cocoon" of the MCU.

After dedicating so many years to the franchise and, in the actor's own words, giving some of his best performances, he felt that a lot of that acting went unnoticed because it was tied to the superhero genre.

Trying to work again without relying on the things he had become accustomed to over the years was like pulling the rug out from under the actor, and it was hard.

In the end, however, Downey Jr. believes it taught him a valuable lesson for which he is grateful, as it "rendered him teachable."

Robert Downey Jr. Gets Candid on His Post-Avengers Flop - image 3

It certainly seems that this uncomfortable but necessary experience has only served the actor well, as his recent portrayal of Lewis Strauss in 2023's Oppenheimer was highly praised by critics and fans alike.

Most importantly, it helped Downey Jr. distance himself from the role of Tony Stark and confirmed the incredible range of the actor's talent.

Source: Literally! With Rob Lowe