Cats Producers Respond To The Backlash Over Their Film


A lack of curiosity just might kill this cat. Two of the producers of the upcoming film
adaptation of the venerable Broadway play Cats have finally surfaced to comment on the
massive backlash to the trailer’s nightmarish visual aesthetic. Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan are the heads of
Universal Pictures’ partnering production company Working Title, and in a recent conversation
with Variety, the pair let the cat out of the bag regarding reactions to the spot, and
their hope that the flick will find its audience among true fans of the play. Fellner said: “What does one say? The reality is that 100 million people or
more saw the trailer, and, yes, there were some people that didn’t like it, and as is
the world we live in, those who didn’t like it were the most vociferous.” Bevan then jumped in to opine that those who
love stage productions of Cats, which typically feature actors wearing makeup that does not
make them look like terrifying monstrosities, totally got what the filmmakers were going
for – and also that those who were turned off by the movie’s spot must have been expecting
to see real, actual cats singing and dancing, or maybe a cartoon. He asserted: “[The viewers who criticized the trailer]
were probably people who didn’t know Cats, and the fact is they were either anticipating
something animated or something that was on four legs. Among people who know Cats, the reaction was
pretty solid.” Yikes! Those are a couple of dubious assumptions,
fella. “Do you know how foolish you sound right now?” It is true that there were comments from just
such users scattered about the Twitterverse, comments along the lines of, “It’s Cats…
what did you expect?” But they were severely outnumbered by remarks
expressing abject horror at the spot, and wondering how on Earth the filmmakers could
have failed to notice that they were fielding a picture that didn’t so much invoke the whimsy
and emotion of the play as it did Cronenbergian body horror. Now, it’s worth noting that the producers
claim that the visuals presented in the trailer were not exactly finished, and that numerous
small tweaks have been applied since the spot was released back in July. We submit, however, that it’s going to take
a heck of a lot more than “subtle changes” to haul viewers up out of the Uncanny Valley,
and get their butts in the seats for Cats. You could say that such a prospect would take
a little bit of… “meow-gic.” “MEEEEEEoooooow.” The casual observer could be forgiven for
thinking that we’re ringing a few too many alarm bells here. After all, Cats has a pretty sterling pedigree;
according to Playbill, it’s the tenth-highest-grossing Broadway musical of all time, which is certainly
nothing to sneeze at. The movie adaptation, it must also be said,
boasts a staggering amount of talent. It stars: Taylor Swift, one of the most bankable
celebrities of any stripe on the planet; Idris Elba, one of the most charismatic and beloved
actors alive; Sir Ian McKellen, the definition of a veteran actor and a consummate pro; and
Dame Judi Dench, whose title alone should tell you all you need to know about just how
well-regarded she is. The flick was co-written by Lee Hall, who
penned the excellent Elton John biopic Rocketman, and directed by Tom Hooper, who fielded the
well-regarded and financially successful 2012 Broadway adaptation Les Misérables, and who
won the Academy Award for Best Director for The King’s Speech. On paper, all of the ingredients for success
are there – but movies aren’t made on paper, and Cats represents a perfect storm of baffling
miscalculations which seem destined to ensure that its inevitable failure won’t be noteworthy;
it will be legendary. First, consider that Cats’ story, while appropriate
for a flashy Broadway production, doesn’t translate very well to film. Don’t take our word for it: it’s been attempted
once already, with a 1998 direct-to-video feature which was a highly faithful adaptation
of the stage production, and which currently sits at 20% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. But, c’mon – we can all agree that even the
Broadway version is… pretty out there. “We just do some poppers and say whatever
comes to mind. Jellicle, Griddlebone, Mungojerrie, Jimmy
McCracklins!” Second, while the Broadway production certainly
has its fans, it’s not at all clear that their numbers are substantial enough to spell success
for a $100 million picture which – considering its holiday release frame – is sure to have
a pretty massive advertising budget. Third: oh, those horrifying visuals. Even if Swift, Elba, and company turn in performances
for the ages, your picture – to paraphrase the late, great Roger Ebert – is in deep trouble
if the audience doesn’t even enjoy the primary act of looking at it. Fourth, and perhaps even more importantly:
the movie is being released on December 20, the same date as a tiny little picture which
you may have heard of by the name of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Even being released in the same month as the
final film of the Skywalker Saga would have spelled trouble for a movie like Cats; that
Universal chose to release it on the same day is nothing short of lunacy. We feel safe in predicting right now that
Cats won’t just be one of the biggest flops of 2019; it will be one of the biggest flops
of this swiftly waning decade, and there’s nothing that the flick’s producers, stars,
or anyone else can do to mitigate the disaster to come. Talent-wise, this picture might have the pick
of the litter… but it’s nine lives might be up before they even start. OK, yeah… we’ll see ourselves out… Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
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61 thoughts on “Cats Producers Respond To The Backlash Over Their Film

  1. Always wanted to see the play when I was a kid being constantly bombarded by the commercials always wanted to see what the big deal was I’m open to a movie

  2. Sad but true. All that work and effort wasted. It's like they legitimately want it to fail when you consider the release date alone.

  3. Good news: Yep, they added some tweaks to fix the movie. This means, they burned it and cancelled releasing it.
    What, they didn't? Oh, well. Its just another movie I'm not going to watch. And, when it bombs and it loses a lot of money, I will scratch my head to the lack of logic behind making this movie.
    "Oh, but its got big name stars!" – Movie Studio Exec
    Yep, like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Uma Thurman and George Clooney in "Batman & Robin" which bombed and the cast have eternal regrets being a part of.
    "Hey, our movie is going to be so absolutely scrumptious and wonderful that we'll release it the same week as that Star Battle…Star Track…Star Worms – oh, I forget its name – everyone will love this movie because…I do. I'm so glad we put so much money into making this. What? There's criticism about how it looks? Well, we'll just spend a lot more money into making it look good. Scrumptious!" – Movie Studio Exec with a nails on chalkboard voice
    Yep. So, all in all, "Cats" is going to be the biggest joke of a movie of the first 20 years of the 21st Century.

  4. I just want to know one thing, and one thing only…..

    Does Danny John-Jules have a cameo in this movie? Because if not, that's the ultimate wasted opportunity.

  5. You know if we spliced cat dna with human dna and a catperson was made… this is what they'd look like.
    strictly speaking on a scientific scale its very accurate.
    Guessing people just don't like it, and if aliens came to our planet im sure we'd be doomed because if they can't handle catpeople in a film that isn't real… then i wonder how the aliens would react to the hatred.

  6. Mentioning these actors as a plus, but which of them is bank at the box office? Sure, Judy Dench and Ian McKellon are great actors, but generally speaking, they aren't headlining any huge movies. When is the last time a Judy Dench -led movie opened at $100 million?
    Idris Elba is one of our best current actors, but he hasn't found his break-out moment and he tends to be in some poorly received films.
    And Taylor Swift? Getouttahere!

  7. I've never been a big fan of musicals. But I've enjoyed some. I have had a desire to see the play, just never got to Broadway shows. The move I thought looked good though. But releasing on the same day as Star Wars, yeah, this flick is perhaps doomed. Shame. It really did look good.

  8. The thing is it doesn't seem to have good direction
    The movie ofcourse will be a flop because it can't break jumanji's second week

  9. When I was young I always wanted to watch Cats.. Nightmares is what this is. Since Star Wars is going to be Full may as well.

  10. I think it is great. I didn't know exactly what the play was about, but I have heard the music for half my life. I didn't care whether I saw it or not until I saw the trailer and now I'm in. I don't want to see Star Wars or anthing out of the MCU, but I will go and see this.

  11. This movie is going to be OK it's open date isn't going to be a issue because the rise of Skywalker is going to bomb it's review report is awful!

  12. Their faces bother me. The broadway production made their actors look like cats. The human noses break the illusion.

  13. WRONG! I'm a HUGE fan of the Broadway show which is an absolute masterpiece. This "film" looks like garbage, because it IS garbage.

  14. Well that was a whole lot of negativity. How about just going to see it with an open mind? It may well be that you'll be glad you did.

  15. The trailer is absolutely horrifying to see and to think that such great stars as Ian Mckellen and Judy Dench would be in a musical is really a stretch.

  16. The trailer looks like garbage during a time of garbage, look what happened to star wars, terminator, ghost busters, the marvel universe, James bond, Charlies angels for highlights. The public is sick of the material best dumped in the sewer than having been made.

  17. Did anyone see the backlash Sonic received last year or did they forget that there is a creepy way to humanize animals?

  18. I already purchased my tickets and can’t wait to see Cats. I loved the movie that was made years ago! Why are you such a Debbie downer? I don’t expect it to be exactly the same. Every director puts their own spin on a play, movie, and even a classical ballet. Try to have an open mind about it. You should not trash art just because it does not speak to you personally.

  19. In this woke generation, you will have to stand up for what you love. Or watch it die of a few complaints from the ignorant minority. ♥ ?

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