Ready or not, here comes “Cats.” Four months after the first trailer for Tom Hooper’s musical set the internet on fire with a thousand hot takes, Universal Pictures has debuted a new official trailer for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. The studio is hoping “Cats” becomes a holiday box office success story like Hooper’s “Les Miserables” was in 2012. “Les Miserables” earned just over $440 million at the worldwide box office and won three Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway. Will “Cats” have similar success? That’s one of the last big questions this awards season.
“Cats” is set over the course of a single night and and centers around a group of homeless felines called the Jellicles. The group must decide which cat will ascend to a place called the Heaviside Layer and come back to a new (and presumably better) life. In adapting “Cats” for the big screen, Hooper and co-writer Lee Hall have reportedly given more of a narrative shape to the musical’s looser structure. Esteemed ballerina Francesca Hayward stars in the film as Victoria. The film adaptation puts Victoria in the lead role and the events of the musical are now seen through her eyes. The supporting cast includes a wealth of superstar names, including James Corden, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Revel Wilson, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, and Ian McKellen.
Despite the heavyweight ensemble and the Oscar bonafides of writer-director Hooper (before “Les Miserables,” the director won both Best Director and Best Picture for his “The King’s Speech”), much of the discussion around “Cats” has centered around the CGI used to create digital fur on the actors so they appear more cat-like on the big screen. The first trailer caused an uproar over the visual cat effects, AKA the “digital fur technology,” but the new official trailer shows off the more finished VFX work.
“Cats” is one of two holiday tentpoles Universal is releasing this year. The other film is Sam Mendes’ one-take war epic “1917,” shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Roger Deakins. Both films are two of the last remaining awards hopefuls left to screen for critics.
Universal Pictures will release “Cats” in theaters nationwide December 20. Check out the new trailer below.