Andrew Lloyd Webber on the ‘Cats’ movie: ‘The whole thing was ridiculous’

CATS World Premiere  - Arrivals.

Remember when Cats: The Movie came out? It was a simpler time. It was December of last year! And my God, the shenanigans. The film’s release date kept getting pushed back because the CGI was so creepy, and they kept having to add and then edit out cat buttholes. The singing, dancing cats were apparently terrifying – I still haven’t seen it, and I don’t plan to. Anyway, the original musical was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, an icon of musical theater. Has ALW ever had a successful stage-to-screen adaptation? Evita, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats… no, guess not. But ALW apparently loathed the Cats movie:

If and when the show finally opens, it will return Lloyd Webber to the theatre where he premiered Cats. And, not long after, sold the film rights to Steven Spielberg, who never shot so much as a frame. That task fell to Tom Hooper, whose version was greeted with derision and appalled fascination last year. Lloyd Webber looks like he can barely bring himself to speak of it.

“The problem with the film was that Tom Hooper decided, as he had with Les Mis, that he didn’t want anybody involved in it who was involved in the original show … The whole thing was ridiculous.”

[From The Sunday Times]

I’m not trying to be that person who hates on a music theater icon, but… how did *any* of these people think that Cats would be able to adapt well to the screen? While the musical is famously long-running, it’s not known as a particularly good show and the Cats movie had disaster written all over it from the start. ALW even wrote/cowrote new music for the movie too. Now he wants to disassociate himself from the mess.

Did you know that Universal (the studio) lost an estimated $113 million on Cats? I bet they lost more than that, honestly, given the CGI and all of the redos and re-edits and such. It was like burning money.

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, attend a roundtable discussion on gender equality!

Christmas at Buckingham Palace

Photos courtesy of WENN, ‘Cats’.

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17 Responses to “Andrew Lloyd Webber on the ‘Cats’ movie: ‘The whole thing was ridiculous’”

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  1. Laalaa says:

    I agree with him. Cats as a premise even as a musical is ridiculous! But it works because the people who did the production knew how to bring it on the stage. I remember my astonishment when I realized that Memory is sung by a CAT! (I first heard the song separately)
    He is right, they should have hired the originals to give advice.

  2. Dorothy says:

    Les Mis is amazing. One of my favorite movie musicals. That’s why I was sooo disappointed in cats. I didn’t hate it mainly because I love the music so much but it could have been way better.

  3. Atti says:

    I still think Cats the movie would have worked as a dark glittery and furry Tim Burtony live action movie. Real actors just pretending to be cats around nonplussed actors playing humans. I would have loved it SO MUCH.

    • Case says:

      Tim Burton would’ve done a great job with this. This story needed someone with vision who is just as dark and zany as the content itself. I loved how he did Sweeney Todd.

  4. Becks1 says:

    I think its hard to make a musical into a movie, because so often what is enjoyable about the musical has to do with the whole production, not just the singing or one person’s face etc. That’s what made the Hamilton “movie” such a smart choice, IMO. I think if they tried to make it into a movie it would lose a lot of what makes it so good. (and I am interested to see how In the Heights turned out, but the previews looked promising.) I think for the most part you need a very good director and a very strong cast and a very good vision. Chicago was amazing, so its possible.

    I never saw the Phantom movie so not sure how that turned out. But I do love Evita, even though someone better than Madonna should have been cast as Evita, but the actual movie is really good, IMO.

  5. D says:

    Why is he acting surprised? Maybe don’t give the rights to your ideas to ppl who don’t care about music/musicials/anything except making the most money possible with the least amount of creative effort?

    If it was terrible you could’ve given the idea to someone who maybe at least had choreo experience, ALW stop feeling bad for yourself you made off with a pretty penny I bet.

  6. Mia4s says:

    Cat fight!! No, I mean….literally.

    This was a stunningly poorly thought out project. Just insane. I’m honestly amazed more people weren’t fired from the studio/production company. Tom Hooper is a very basic director. Les Miserables turned out OK in spite of him, not because of him. The live singing was just distracting. And both Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway are gifted musical performers, but those close ups!! I didn’t need to stare at their tonsils for two hours. His sense of spectacle and scale is just not there.

    I agree with the comment above; this needed a Tim Burton. Hell, maybe Steven Spielberg could have done something fun.

  7. Case says:

    I feel like he was actually quite involved (he was a producer!) and is now trying to pass the buck because it wasn’t well received.

  8. Chickaletta says:

    does anyone remember Six Degrees of Separation where a big part of the plot was the conman promising all the NYC socialites “roles in the Cats movie.” ?

  9. Mika says:

    Nah. Not happening Andy. This is your mess too. Just like the horrible f*cking Phantom of the Opera movie with Gerard Butler. YOU OWN THESE CATS.

  10. Angela says:

    CATS was already f***ing ridiculous to start off with why would they think a film version would be good!??

  11. Harper says:

    The Jesus Christ Superstar film is amazing. No frills, shot on a time in Israel, but the performances are wonderful. I watch it ever Easter.

    • Thirtynine says:

      Yes, I think so, too, Harper. The original Jesus Christ Superstar was an amazing interpretation. The performances, especially Jesus and Judas, sets and costumes were brilliantly done. I watch it too, every Easter.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Love JCS. Also watch it every Easter.

  12. Ferdinand says:

    Yeah but no. I don’t think EVITA was a bad adaptation. It won some prizes at least. There was some ok performances and Madonna’s voice has never been better.

    Cats on the other hand…

  13. Ginna says:

    Ahem. EVITA was a great movie adaptation of a difficult musical, I will fight for it to my dying day. Madonna actually embodied the character, her voice sounded better than ever, and the film choices added to, rather than detracted from the story.

    JCS was a weird 70’s movie, but it was a weird 70’s musical, so there’s that.

    But Cats looked so dreadful that my mom, a Cats superfan, declined to see it when I offered to take her. “I don’t want it to run the musical for me,” was her explanation. Not really surprising that ALW is running away from it all. He’s made his millions anyway.

  14. Anoni Mus says:

    I personally loved the Phantom of the Opera movie, I think it captured the essence of the musical pretty well. Also Evita was not bad. But Cats, shudder. Those cgi faces are so wrong