Andrew Lloyd Webber, the English composer behind "Cats," called the 2019 movie version of one of the longest-running Broadway shows "ridiculous."
“The problem with the film was that Tom Hooper decided that he didn’t want anybody involved in it who was involved in the original show,” Lloyd Webber said of the movie's director in a recent interview with The Sunday Times. “The whole thing was ridiculous.”
Critics reviled "Cats" even before its official release last December; the movie's trailer alone was subject to jokes and was called "creepy and weird." Lloyd Webber, who adapted T.S. Eliot's poetry collection "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" into a musical in 1981, has previous criticized James Corden's performance in the movie, calling it "absolutely un-Eliot." Corden, who played the alley cat Bustopher Jones in "Cats," told BBC Radio 2 that he hadn't watched the film, but "heard it was terrible."
Corden wasn't the only one who never made it to theaters to see "Cats." The movie was a box office flop and lost Universal Pictures an estimated $113 million, according to Deadline — despite the fact that the company found success in producing other musicals, like "Mamma Mia!" and "Les Misérables" and that "Cats" had an all-star cast, including Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Rebel Wilson and Corden. Universal Pictures did not immediately return request for comment on the reported amount of its loss. Hopper also directed "Les Misérables," which placed first at the box office the weekend it opened in 2012.
Universal Pictures is a unit of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.
Lloyd Webber also discussed the changing landscape of theater during the pandemic, which is preventing live performances from taking place. His latest project, a "Cinderella" musical, was supposed to premiere in August at the Gillian Lynne Theatre in London, but has now been postponed to April 2021.
“The big issue now is, do I push the button? We moved it back to next year, but we still don’t know if we’re going to be able to open then," Lloyd Webber told The Sunday Times. "Do we start building sets? We’re having to say to the actors, ‘Look, we love you, but it’s a case of us all crossing our fingers here.’ We simply don’t know.”