From the moment the first trailer for Cats was released, the movie seemed to have box office bomb written all over it. While the stage version has remained hugely popular for decades, director Tom Hooper’s live-action adaptation looked incredibly strange and more than a little terrifying, which wasn’t exactly what the studio would have been hoping for when they handed the Academy Award-winning filmmaker $100 million to bring it to the big screen.
Seth Rogen may have gotten a bizarre enjoyment out of it by getting high and live-tweeting his experience, but Cats was absolutely savaged by critics and labeled as one of the worst movies of the year. Not to mention that Hugh Jackman seems to have dodged a bullet that not even Wolverine could have survived by turning down the chance to join the ensemble cast.
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The overwhelmingly negative publicity saw Cats land in theaters with a thud, and by the time it had been permanently dumped in the litter-box, the movie had only just scraped past the $75 million mark, and ultimately saw Universal end up losing $113.6 million. You know things are bad when even the members of the cast are openly admitting that they haven’t even seen it but are still keenly aware of how awful it is.
Reports have since filtered out that Hooper had no clue how to handle working on such an effects-heavy production, with Cats being released into theaters with unfinished CGI, something that people instantly picked up on. And while we’re still talking about the Snyder Cut of Justice League over two and a half years later, it seems pretty unlikely that the similarly-mythic Butthole Cut of Cats is going to remain in the cultural conversation at the tail-end of 2022.