Dr. Dolittle is a 1998 American family comedy film starring Eddie Murphy as a doctor who discovers that he has the ability to talk to (and understand) animals. The film was loosely based on the series of children's stories of the same name, but none of the material from any of the novels was used; in fact, it could be said that one of the few resemblances is a doctor who can speak to animals. Notably the pushmi-pullyu, a much loved feature of the books, only makes a very brief appearance in the first scene in which the tiger appears in his cage. The first novel had been originally filmed in 1967 as a musical under the same title, a closer adaptation to the book. The earlier film was a box office bomb, but still remains a cult classic and a two-time Academy Award-winner. Although the 1998 film was rated PG-13 by the MPAA, it was marketed as a family film.
The 1998 film was a success and received mixed to positive reviews from critics, and generated a theatrical sequel that was released in 2001, simply titled Dr. Dolittle 2. Both films also starred Raven-Symoné and Kyla Pratt as Dolittle's daughters. A third movie, Dr. Dolittle 3, with Pratt playing the main character, was released direct-to-video in 2006, and it did not star Eddie Murphy or Raven-Symoné. A fourth film, Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief, was released straight to DVD in 2008. A fifth film, Dr. Dolittle Million Dollar Mutts was released straight to DVD in 2009.