Cats’ Andrew Lloyd Webber Jokes About The Movie Flopping So Hard

ian McKellan as Gus the Theatre Cat in Cats 2019
(Image credit: Universal)

Cats may have felt like a fever dream when it came and went from theaters over the 2019 holiday season as Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker overthrew screens globally, but Idris Elba’s Macavity very much happened and was there, Rebel Wilson’s Jennyanydots sure did unzip her cat’s skin for a music number, and Jason Derulo brought his sex appeal to Rum Tum Tugger. With nearly two years since Cats' release, Andrew Lloyd Webber, the composer of the hit Broadway musical it is based on, is sharing his blunt thoughts about the failed film adaptation. 

The 2019 movie was directed by Les MiserablesTom Hooper, who once won Best Directing at the Oscars for The King’s Speech. Cats was a huge flop at the box office and memorably critically panned, though it did pick up momentum as the butthole of jokes for some time. Andrew Lloyd Webber shared his thoughts about Cats to Variety as the playwright prepares to see his other show Phantom of the Opera return to Broadway: 

Cats was off-the-scale all wrong. There wasn't really any understanding of why the music ticked at all. I saw it and I just thought, ‘Oh, God, no.’ It was the first time in my 70-odd years on this planet that I went out and bought a dog. So the one good thing to come out of it is my little Havanese puppy.

It sounds like Andrew Lloyd Webber found the perfect remedy. If you don’t like Cats, fuss up and buy a dog to forget the pain. The 73-year-old is a musical icon who has seen Cats thrive on the Broadway stage for the past 40 years. However, he was not a fan of Tom Hooper’s adaptation either. Webber joked about the flop further, sharing this story: 

I wrote off and said I needed him with me at all times because I'm emotionally damaged and I must have this therapy dog. The airline wrote back and said, ‘Can you prove that you really need him?’ And I said ‘Yes, just see what Hollywood did to my musical Cats.’ Then the approval came back with a note saying, ‘No doctor's report required.’

Brutal! Of course, few people would disagree with him. The movie was a commercial failure, with many of its own cast, like James Corden, even sharing that it didn’t necessarily ‘work’ despite having fun making the movie personally. Andrew Lloyd Webber has specifically called out Corden for being “unfunny” as Bustopher Jones in the movie as well. 

Andrew Lloyd Webber worked on the 2019 movie, collaborating with Taylor Swift to write a new song for the movie called “Beautiful Ghosts.”  The movie swept the Razzies for Worst Picture, Worst Supporting Actor in James Corden, Worst Screenplay, Worst Director, Worst Supporting Actress in Rebel Wilson and Worst Screen Combo in any two half-feline/half-human hairballs. 

Of course, a big element of distaste for the film came out of the decision to CGI the actors into cat/human hybrids, which reportedly dealt with a lot of reworking behind the scenes. An alleged VFX crew member even shared that all the cats once had buttholes in the film before it was decided to remove all of them. Whether or not that’s true, it sounds like Andrew Lloyd Webber will be erasing the memory of Cats from his mind as he enjoys his new dog instead. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.