Tom Hooper’s Cats has been in cinemas for just eight weeks now, but in that time, the Universal musical has developed a reputation as a new cult classic for bad movie aficionados. Across various social media platforms, filmgoers have shared stories and videos of raucous screenings attended by ironic-minded audience members captivated by the film’s bizarre and nightmarish spectacle.
It may therefore come as a disappointment to some of you to hear that Universal is already pulling the movie from theaters, though the film’s dismal box office figures more than justify this early withdrawal. On an estimated budget of $95 million, Cats has grossed a reported total of just $72.1 million, including $27.2 million domestically.
To compare these numbers with the gross of another December musical, 2012’s Les Misérables – also directed by Hooper – managed $441 million worldwide on a budget of $61 million. More recently, Michael Gracey’s 2017 film The Greatest Showman ended its run with a global total of over $434 million, despite mixed reviews and a less-than-spectacular first weekend.
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It likely hasn’t helped that even much of the Cats cast can’t bring themselves to stand up for the movie. In late December, for instance, actor and comedian James Corden admitted that he hadn’t seen the flick, though he’d “heard it’s terrible.” More recently, Corden and co-star Rebel Wilson presented the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects while dressed in cat costumes, in a cheeky nod to the film’s infamous digital fur effects.
It’s strange to think that there was presumably a time when the team at Universal were unironically regarding Cats as a potential Oscar contender. But while things didn’t exactly turn out as planned, it’s clear that people are going to be talking about the movie well after it’s left cinemas. Get ready for some wild responses once this thing hits home release.