There’s a big movie coming out this week that’s been a popular topic of conversation over the last several months and will likely go down as one of the most visually craziest movies of 2019. No, I’m not talking Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Cats opens the same day as The Rise of Skywalker and also held its world premiere yesterday. However, while The Rise of Skywalker had been 100% completed by the end of November, Cats wasn’t completed until just hours before its premiere. This information comes straight from director Tom Hooper, who said the following:
I finished it at 8 a.m. yesterday after 36 hours in a row. I just put the finishing touches on. So, I’m very happy to be here with it fully finished. The premiere should be the first time people get to see it, and this is genuinely a premiere.
Tom Hooper spilled the beans on Cats’ super late completion while speaking with Variety at the red carpet premiere in New York City, partially attributing the late turnaround to the intensive post-production work. As is abundantly clear in the trailers, Cats is a CGI-heavy movie, and while the appearance of the felines has drawn criticism, Hooper believes the movie’s visual presentation has “come a long way since that first trailer.”
Last November, Tom Hooper noted how because Cats finished shooting in March, the visual effects were still being ironed out when the first trailer dropped in July. Following the viral outcry and mockery towards the preview, Hooper and his team changed some of the designs of the eponymous creatures. Say what you will about Cats, you can’t deny a lot of work has been poured into this bizarre feature.
You’ll have to see Cats for yourself to decide if you agree with Tom Hooper on if the CGI did indeed improve, but it is astounding that Cats wasn’t locked until right before the premiere was held, and that was only because Hooper and his team worked for 36 hours straight beforehand. That means the movie’s stars, including Idris Elba, James Corden and Taylor Swift, got to see the finished product at the same time as everyone else in that special screening.
As for how Cats was received at the world premiere, similar to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the reactions have been mixed. Some thought it was a visual masterpiece and one of the best musical films ever, while others felt it was too weird for its own good. While The Rise of Skywalker will surely be the box office champ this opening weekend, it will be interesting to see how Cats does with the general public and it’ll have legs in the weeks to come, similar to how Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle did two years ago.
Based off the long-running, same-named Andrew Lloyd Webber musical production, Cats follows a tribe of felines called the Jellicles who decide over the course of a night which of them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer and be reborn. It’s been reported that the budget skyrocketed to nearly $300 million, though this hasn’t been officially confirmed.
Cats will begin preview screenings this Thursday evening, followed by the wide rollout on Friday, December 20. If you’re already looking to next year, learn what movies are on the way with our 2020 release schedule.