What you are looking at above is the terrifying CGI version of James Corden as Bustopher Jones, as he dives head-first into the trash. It’s an appropriate metaphor, because someone in Hollywood has been crunching the box office numbers on the live-action adaptation of Cats. And we already knew the movie was garbage. But now we know that from a financial standpoint, Cats is extra-stinky.
Deadline says that after two weekends at the box office, Cats is on track to lose an estimated $71 million dollars. Sources are basing this number off the estimated production budget, which was reportedly $90 million, as well as the money spent on publicity, marketing, and advertising, a number estimated at $115 million. So Universal reportedly dumped about $205 million into Cats. Honestly, for $0 I would have gone door to door with the Cats trailer playing on an iPad, telling people, “Okay, tell me you honestly don’t want to see this mess.”
Domestically, Cats has brought in nearly $18 million. It has done better internationally, with $20.6 million. The movie could possibly pull in $100 million in box office sales, which would result in an estimated $71 million loss. When Cats hits streaming services, those same sources say that higher ups are predicting the sales will jump to $155 million. The only chance Universal has to make that happen is if they edit back in Jason Derulo’s alleged kitty bulge.
And even then it doesn’t look good. Currently, Cats holds the #19 spot on the list of the worst domestic openings of all time. Deadline says there’s no end to the reasons why Cats was such a dry litter box turd, but they think the decision to go up against Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker didn’t help things.
Also, according to Variety, the publicity department at Universal has taken steps to move Cats far away from their Oscar campaigning.
Tom Hooper won a Best Director Oscar for The King’s Speech at the 83rd Academy Awards (it also won Best Picture). He directed The Danish Girl, another critically-acclaimed film, and Les Miserables, which won three Oscars in 2013. So everyone at Universal was probably expecting Tom would make a movie that would get a couple Oscar nominations. He didn’t. Taylor Swift’s original song didn’t make the Oscar shortlist. Universal recently updated the “For Your Consideration 2019” page of their website, and Cats is nowhere to be found. The movies currently featured are Us, 1917, Queen & Slim, How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Abominable, and The Secret Life of Pets 2. Cats is also missing from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences streaming website (where Oscar voters can watch qualifying films in preparation for voting).
Cats didn’t have to hog up a spot on Universal’s FYC page. Everyone with eyes and a cursed memory is aware of Cats by now. And even without the online shout-out, it’s still guaranteed to pull in at least a dozen big award season nominations. Sure, they’ll be Razzie nominations, but at this point, it’s the best they can hope for.