As another movie once defined by its CGI controversy hits theaters this weekend in Sonic the Hedgehog, don’t count on Tom Hooper’s Cats to compete. Macavity’s not there! After just eight weeks at the box office, the musical adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway smash hit has ended its domestic box office run and the final numbers are in.
Universal’s holiday release made just $27,166,770 in the United States and Canada over about one month and a half in theaters, per The Numbers and Box Office Mojo. The movie was made on a $95 million production budget before marketing costs. Cats opened on the same weekend as Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker with a bummer $6.6 million opening weekend and things did not look up from there. The Tom Hooper musical has continued to decline from its initial No. 5 spot to 35 last weekend, dropping it out of cinemas after eight weeks. On average, Cats plummeted six spots down the list each week.
Internationally, Cats has made $46 million so far, bringing its box office earnings out to $73.5 million. But for a big-budget movie such as Cats, this is a real bummer. In comparison, Tom Hooper’s last musical 2012’s Les Misérables made $441 million worldwide on a lower budget of $61 million. $148 million of those numbers were from the domestic box office after 14 weeks in theaters. And while 2017’s The Greatest Showman started off with a low $8.8 million domestic opening, it caught on with audiences with $174 million domestic haul after 17 weeks and made a total of $434 million globally.
Problems started for Cats over the summer when the first trailer came out and its CGI human-hybrids went viral for all the wrong reasons. The movie became trending for its nightmarish visuals of actors such as Judi Dench and Idris Elba as dancing and singing Jellicle cats. Tom Hooper decided to update the effects of the film even up until the night before the film’s premiere. And then after it opened in theaters, another updated version was sent out to showings.
Cats was once on Universal’s “For Your Consideration” page for awards season, but once the reviews started pouring in, the studio pulled the title from their Oscars campaign. There must have been an expectation that Cats was going to be the next Les Misérables, but instead it became the butt of a visual effects joke at this year’s Academy Awards.
The movie musical was nominated for the infamous Razzies with A Madea Family Funeral and Rambo: First Blood. Its cast is even making fun of the movie, and James Corden apparently didn’t even bother seeing it after hearing how “terrible” it is. But, Cats could very well become a cult classic. I just went to a “rowdy screening” of the movie at an independent theater and it was packed.
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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.