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Why Cats Bombed At The Box Office

Why Cats Bombed At The Box Office

Let’s all pay our condolences to Cats as it
fades away to the Heaviside Layer. The film adaptation of the famous Andrew Lloyd
Webber stage musical finally hit theatres on December 20th, 2019, and audiences have
been passionately avoiding the film ever since. Here’s what went wrong with Cats. Well, the box office numbers have rolled in
for director Tom Hooper’s misguided movie-musical, and let it suffice to say, they aren’t exactly
the cat’s meow. In fact, they’re absolutely abysmal. Initial box office estimates predicted that
Cats would earn about $15 million on its opening weekend. But when the film opened – against Star Wars:
The Rise of Skywalker, no less – it pulled in a dismal $6.5 million domestically. That is to say, the box office returns were
effectively in the litter box. “Cats! Barely scratching by. The star-studded film managed just $6.5 million
dollars.” “Mrrrw!” Such numbers would be acceptable for, say,
a limited-release art film. But it’s completely unacceptable for a tentpole
Christmas release packed with triple-A talent – particularly since the film cost approximately
$100 million to make. A poor outcome for Cats was rather expected,
but the severity of its opening weekend failure is still rather surprising. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this
is a serious box office bomb we’re talking about here… a major cinematic cat-astrophe. $2.2 million dollars on a wide-release opening
day means that basically no one saw this movie. Meanwhile, pretty much everyone on the planet
knew the film was happening. Seems like morbid curiosity just wasn’t enough
to get people into those seats. That lack of curiosity killed Cats. We can’t talk about Cats without talking about
that soul-bending teaser trailer, which was released back in July 2019. What a day that was for social media. They say that “all press is good press,” but
they clearly hadn’t seen the Cats teaser trailer before making that statement. Many people reacted with abject horror when
they got their first look at the sprightly CGI cats, recoiling in horror at all the chirpy
celebrity faces grafted onto furry bodies. Some folks hoped against hope that the film
was still very much a work in progress. “I’m not sure, are they not done? Like some of the shots, the one shot of Jennifer
Hudson right at the ending, it looks really bad. I’m wondering, have they not done the visual
effects yet?” A film is basically doomed if the trailer
becomes a meme based on how dreadful it is – especially if that trailer is released less
than six months before the movie comes out. And people weren’t exactly won over when the
second full Cats trailer was released in November 2019. We imagine they were still trying to process
what they’d witnessed over the summer. When a film relies heavily on post-production
VFX, it takes a lot of time to get just right. Rushing the process is a really bad idea,
particularly when the filmmakers are busy hailing the special effects as game-changing
and groundbreaking. Well, it sounds like a very special kind of
technology was used for this film: “We’ve used digital fur technology to create
the most perfect covering of fur.” “These are people… but they’re cats! And this is kind-of blowing my mind.” Pixar movies have an average development cycle
of four to seven years from concept design to finished animation. On the other hand, Cats only had seven months
of post-production to render everything. Principal photography began back in December
2018 and wrapped in April 2019. Universal Pictures released the teaser trailer
a mere three months after that, and Cats was released to theatres in December 2019 – just
a little over a year after principal photography commenced. That’s an absolutely insane schedule – particularly
for a film that requires so much post-production work. Reviews for Cats aren’t just disparaging – they’re
devastating. Upon its release, critics pounced upon the
film with sheer sadistic glee, and you can’t really blame them. As of the making of this video, Cats’ Rotten
Tomatoes score stands at a resolutely sad-making 18 percent – and the selected pull quotes
are essentially an all-you-can-eat buffet of brutality. Even Rolling Stone’s overly precious reviewer
Peter Travers had his claws out, writing: “This all-star, all-awful screen take on the
smash Broadway musical easily scores as the worst movie of the year and arguably the decade. Cats shouldn’t happen to a dog.” And Variety’s chief film critic Peter Debruge
certainly wasn’t any kinder: “It is ugly. It is badly directed. It is an eyesore. And these cats look terrible.” Shortly after Cats was released, the absolutely
unthinkable happened. As Gizmodo put it: “In an unprecedented move, Universal is sending
theaters a patched version of Cats.” You heard that correctly. On the same day the film hit theaters, Universal
emailed thousands of theaters and let them know that a rush package containing an updated
version of the film would be arriving sometime in the next couple of days. “Seems like they scrambled and they rushed
to re-edit the film.” In fact, as of the making of this video, there’s
even a viral tweet that shows viewers how to know whether they’re watching Cats 1.0
or what we’ll go ahead and call Cats 1.01. The tweet reads: “How do you know if you have the old version? Look for Judi Dench’s human hand, wedding
ring and all.” What a time to be alive. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
movies and TV shows are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the
bell so you don’t miss a single one.

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