The Cats movie debuted in theaters just in time for Christmas; however, few felt it was a gift. In fact, it absolutely tanked at the box office! Now, the people who managed to sit through what might be the “worst movie ever” are speaking out. And it seems as though the Cats movie is one of the strangest experiences of all time…
The Cats Movie: The Worst Movie Ever?
For those out of the loop, Cats is an adaption of the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, which Webber based on a collection of poetry by T.S. Elliot. When Universal Pictures announced the Cats movie, with a December 20, 2019 release date, it seemed like the perfect Christmas movie. Parents could enjoy a world-famous musical while children could enjoy cute cats running across the screen. Plus, it features a star-studded cast, including Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Taylor Swift, and many others, as well as a budget of $90 million! What could go wrong?
While the trailer’s questionable CGI raised some doubts, Universal promised it would be fixed before release. So, plenty of musicals and movie lovers decided to give Cats the benefit of the doubt.
Then, starting on December 18, critics started releasing their reviews. Many called Cats the “worst movie of the decade” and actually advocated skipping it entirely. When the film opened days later, things became even worse. Cats absolutely tanked at the box office, with Twitter users sharing photos of empty theaters across the US. As of today, it has yet to even make $60 million worldwide! One Twitter user summed up the experience perfectly: “There were about twenty people at my showing of CATS. Seven walked out. Some people were in fits of laughter by the end. It is shockingly bad. I really don’t think you can understand how freaky and wrong it is until you see it.”
So what exactly went wrong?
Bad CGI And Lazy Writing
Of course, when a movie fails to make back its budget, many people are at fault. However, many viewers and critics are pointing at director Tom Hooper as the source of Cats’ downfall. Instead of using makeup, as the show does, Hooper insisted on using CGI. He believed it would lend more realism to the movie. Unfortunately, the computer effects look horrendous and quite creepy. The effects literally made some viewers feel uncomfortable.
Though, it seems like fantastic CGI would have done little to help Cats. In addition to terrible computer graphics, many also heavily criticized the film’s writing. Cats does little to explain the plot to viewers, failing to even explain basic terms. As one Twitter user, Molly, wrote, “I screamed at the screen in vain asking what the hell a Jellicle cat was. One helpful audience member stated it’s the cat who most wants to die, so I’ll take that answer.” That’s not correct, by the way, proving Molly’s point.
Universal will have to take some of the blame as well. After the release of Cats, news came out that they rushed much of the movie’s production. In fact, the visual animation department only had eight months to complete all the CGI for the film: whiskers, fur, tails, paws, everything! As a result, they made some pretty big mistakes. As you can see above, in one shot, viewers can actually see Judi Dench’s real hand, wedding ring, and all!
While Cats did flop at the box office, there’s a silver lining: the horribleness of this experience seemed to bring everyone together. In a divided, polarized world, it’s nice to see everyone come together to share their bizarre viewing experiences.
“To assess Cats as good or bad feels like the entirely wrong axis on which to see it. It is, with all affection, a monstrosity,” wrote on Vulture critic. Meanwhile, one Twitter user, Dorian DeBose, compared the experience to death: “I saw Cats in an empty theater last night. It was the closest I’ve been to Purgatory.”
Believe it or not, Universal announced Cats will undergo yet another round of CGI work, something unheard of for a film already in theaters. Will it save the movie? Almost certainly not. Is Cats possibly the strangest, worst movie of the previous decade? Probably yes, and it’s fantastic.