In terms of budget, release date and the people involved, Cats was the number one bomb of 2019. Costing upwards of $100 million to produce, the disastrous musical managed to earn just $6.6 million in its opening weekend en route to $27 million domestically. In the end, the movie cost Universal more than $70 million.
A lot has been written in the aftermath of the pic’s release, including lots about the infamous butthole cut, rumors of people dying during filming and Judi Dench’s miserable time making the project. But one actor, in particular, was very optimistic going into Cats.
Star Jason Derulo was convinced the movie would do well and that was even after he saw the laughable first trailer.
“I thought it was gonna change the world,” Derulo, who played Rum Tum Tugger in the film, recently told The Telegraph. “Even when I saw the trailer, I got chills down my spine!”
Perhaps Derulo was naive considering it was his first film role. On paper, though, it was a logical choice for the budding actor.
“For the longest time, I was trying to figure out what’s the perfect first role,” Derulo revealed. “Cats checked all the boxes. You can’t get a more start-studded cast, you don’t get a more respected director than an Oscar winner, and Rum Tum Tugger is a legacy role, a standout character in a classic musical.”
But in retrospect, it was just a collection of talent, including Dench, Ian McKellen, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden and Taylor Swift, who all needed new vacation homes.
Remember that scene at the end of Se7en when John Doe is talking about his work and how it will be “puzzled over and studied and followed forever”? Yeah, Cats is kind of like that in that people will find it endlessly puzzling, study how it was released despite unfinished visual effects and then do the opposite of that in the future. You have to admire Derulo’s optimism, though. I’d like to know what he thinks of 2020.
If nothing else, we were at least treated to a hilarious Oscars sketch featuring Corden and Rebel Wilson in old school Cats outfits presenting the award for visual effects. In fact, in the end, this was probably just the Movie Gods finally punishing director Tom Hooper for stealing David Fincher’s Oscars for The Social Network a decade ago.