Two highly-publicized movies opened on December 20, and while Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been met with divisive reactions, at least it’s doing quite well for itself financially, currently sitting at close to $725 million worldwide. Cats, on the other hand, has performed poorly both critically and commercially, and in the latte category, word’s come in that tens of millions of dollars could be lost because of this feline fiasco.
As things stand now, Cats, the adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s incredibly popular, same-named musical (which itself was inspired by T.S’ Elliot’s poetry collection Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats), has only made a little over $38 million… worldwide. According to finance sources who spoke to Deadline, even if Cats manages to hit $100 million worldwide, i.e. $40 million domestically and $60 million internationally, it’ll still lose at least $71 million.
These numbers are based off the $90 million net production cost (the movie was shot on sound stages in London) and an estimated $115 million spent on prints and advertising. Deadline also noted that the total worldwide theatrical revenue, global free/pay TV and global home entertainment revenues (which includes streaming) will total around $155 million, and that the home entertainment costs and the global P&A add up to around $226 million. Universal Pictures did not comment on these numbers.
So yeah, it’s safe to say that Cats is a gigantic box office bomb, one which will surely haunt Universal in the years to come. This is on top of Cats earning a critical thrashing, ranking at 18% among critics and earning a 54% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively, and receiving a C+ on Cinemascope. Westworld’s Evan Rachel Wood was left speechless by how much worse Cats was than she thought it would be, and James Corden, one of the stars, didn’t even bother to see the movie after hearing how terrible it was.
Opening opposite Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker certainly didn’t help Cats on the commercial front, but the movie was fighting an uphill battle ever since the first trailer dropped this past summer and audiences ridiculed the look of the CGI human/cat hybrids. Director Tom Hooper admitted that he and his team changed some of the designs after seeing the viral outcry, and the picture was locked just one day before the world premiere.
Alas, there were still VFX issues with the final cut of Cats, leading Universal to send updated prints to theaters after Cats had already started playing. With the poor reviews and terrible box office performance, it’s no wonder that Universal has removed Cats from its “For Your Awards Consideration” webpage. We’re getting plenty more movie musicals in the near future, such as Wicked and West Side Story, but Cats will go down in film history as one of the worst, resting comfortably in the litter box.
Be sure to read CinemaBlend’s review of Cats, and look through our 2020 release schedule to plan your trips to the theater next year accordingly.
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Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.