Nothing is guaranteed in Hollywood. Even the biggest stars in the world can not guarantee a hit. But it is rare that something tanks so badly it has no defenders or attempt to find redeeming qualities. Especially from such a high-profile, big-budget and eagerly anticipated blockbuster. Extraordinarily, this film has been such a massive disaster that even its own stars are making fun of the disaster.
Yes, we are talking about Cats, of course.
The film had finished its main run in cinemas over the weekend and box office figure have revealed the scale of the flop.
Cats was estimated to have cost $95million to produce by Working Title and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. On top of that, studios typically spend the same again on marketing. The film was distributed worldwide by Universal.
So, you might think the film needed to make around $190million to break even? Except, the studios do not receive the entire box office take, only a percentage, with distributors and cinema owners also taking a large cut.
These figures indicate Cats may well have lost even more than $100million.
There is also little hope it will recoup many losses with the home entertainment release.
Almost every aspect of the film came under fire, but there was particular criticism of the special effects, which rapidly descended into mockery from the very first trailer to recent awards show appearances by stars like Rebel Wilson and James Corden.
At the recent Oscars ceremony, the pair came out to present the award for Achievement in Visual Effects.
Dressed as their characters from the film, they said; “As cast members of the motion picture Cats, nobody more than us understands the importance of… good visual effects.”
To increasing hilarity from the audience, the actors then batted at the microphone stand like actual cats.
It’s undeniable, the bizarre special effects, notably the VFX used to turn all the actors into felines and the clearly visible way characters’ feet often appeared to hover above the CGI’d floors, were a major problem.
However, many have pointed out the fault lies with the producers, studio and director Tom Hooper.
The Visual Effects Society protested about the Oscars skit and the wider perception that the film’s failure was the fault of poor s[ecial effects.
The visual effects teams were only following instructions and it has been well documented that the film underwent frantic reshoots after the poor reception of the first trailer, with some visual effects still incomplete when it was released to the cinema.
It’s still early in the year, but it seems hard to imagine any other release this year will be met with equal ridicule and audience rejection.