'Cats' Died in Theaters-- And Was Resurrected as a Cult Hit
It's barely been a month since Cats hit theaters (then hit theaters again with slightly less janky visual effects), and while it may lose $100 million dollars at the box office, it's already become a success on the midnight movie circuit. The Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn sold out four "rowdy" screenings of Tom Hooper's sexually-frustrated feline nightmare, the first of which booked up in "less than 20 minutes." The Los Angeles location similarly sold-out their "Meowdy" screenings, offering "milk-based cocktails" served in saucers.
In Toronto, the Revue Cinema fully embraced the film's campiness, hosting sold-out "Jellicle Ball" Cats sing-a-longs also featuring performances from strippers, drag queens, tap dancers, and a live painter. And, of course, a giant puppet version of Judi Dench's disembodied head.
We're also getting special "dog-friendly screenings", and Cats fans in New York have launched a GoFundMe page to raise money for a nonprofit that provides a "healing community of people living with and affected by AIDS." If donations meet the goal of $15,000 they will "watch CATS on a loop for 24 hours".
What's amazing is how quickly Cats transitioned from box office bomb to cult classic. It was five months before audiences began interacting with The Rocky Horror Picture Show, paving the way for its second life as a participatory cinematic experience. It was a full year before the first-midnight screening of Tommy Wiseau's The Room. But either thanks to the expediency of social media, or the uniquely mind-boggling insanity of Cats, it has passed on from its failed life and been reborn into a better one-- which strangely enough is the actual Jellicle prize that the cats are singing for as a reward. No spoiler warning on that previous sentence, because scientists have yet to determine how you even could possibly spoil a plot like that.
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