‘Cats’ hauls in a meek $6.5 million in US box office debut


James Corden as Bustopher Jones in “Cats.”


Despite a stellar cast and the promise of unique, innovative computer-generated visuals, “Cats” couldn’t lure in moviegoers during its opening weekend.

The film, which currently holds a 19% “Rotten” on Rotten Tomatoes, has polarized fans of the Broadway musical it was based on, critics and casual film watchers since its trailer was released in July.

“Cats” garnered a dismal $6.5 million in ticket sales for its domestic debut, much less than the generous $20 million that some analysts had predicted.

“An absolutely polarizing film, ‘Cats,’ had a rough time at least upon its initial release in garnering either critical or audience support,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, said. “[It] will have to hope for some sort of resurgence once the noise of ‘Star Wars’ and other holiday hits quiets down a bit in the coming weeks.”

Universal, which distributed the film, noted that it is the only musical offered during this holiday season and the studio hopes that it will serve as counterprogramming to massive blockbuster titles like “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” and “Jumanji.” However, it also will face more competition on Christmas Day when “Little Women,” “Spies in Disguise” and “Uncut Gems” arrive in theaters.

Still, there could be hope for “Cats.”

“Cats may seem like kitty litter fodder at the box office right now, but let’s remember ‘The Greatest Showman’ had a lousy opening of $8.8M and went on to have some of the longest legs ever for a Hollywood musical, eventually scoring $440 million worldwide,” Jeff Bock, senior analyst at Exhibitor Relations, said.

Internationally, “Cats” garnered an additional $4.4 million from its release in the U.K. and Ireland, bringing it’s total worldwide haul to $10.9 million.

Disclosure: Comcast, is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal distributed ‘Cats.’ Comcast also owns Rotten Tomatoes.

2019-12-22 16:32:42

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