Like a raw steak being lowered into a piranha tank, a new trailer for Cats was released onto the internet this week. And if you thought the first trailer was disturbing, this one has cats dancing in bejeweled formal wear, a naked Idris Elba cat inexplicably turning into a cloud of dust, and multiple cats wearing fur coats, which is pretty much the cat equivalent of you or I wearing a jacket made of human skin. Predictably, folks on social media weren't exactly kind to the creeptastic new footage.
But by far the craziest thing about this Broadway fever dream of a movie is just how mind-bogglingly expensive it was. Sure, hiring a bunch of big-name actors and building giant sets to make them look like tiny kitty cats probably wasn't cheap. But also instead of just putting the cast in crappy cat costumes, the filmmakers had them don motion-capture rigs then got the visual effects team to create computer-generated... crappy cat costumes. Or as director Tom Hooper put it: "Digital fur technology to create the most perfect covering of fur."
This all contributed to a reported budget just shy of $300 million! To put that in perspective, Spider-Man: Far From Home, another movie spectacle filled with elaborate visual effects cost just $160 million. You could almost make two Spider-Mans for the price of one Cats. And while recent musicals like The Greatest Showman and Hooper's Les Miserables were big hits, the last big-budget Andrew Lloyd Webber adaptation, The Phantom of the Opera made a little over $154 million worldwide in 2004. Cats will have to pretty much double that just to break even.
Which, hey, could totally happen! But in another odd decision in this master class of odd decision-making, Universal decided to release the movie on December 20th, so it's in direct competition with the opening of Star Wars: the Rise of Skywalker. Presumably the people behind Cats are banking on the "crap, Star Wars is sold out, but we already hired a sitter let's see something damn it" crowd.
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