James Corden is one of the top-billed stars of “Cats,” Tom Hooper’s critically reviled adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, but he has yet to see the theatrical cut. The late night host revealed as much during an appearance on Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 show (via The Independent). The film opened nationwide December 20 and world premiered December 16 at New York City’s Lincoln Center. Corden, who plays Bustopher Jones in the film, attended the world premiere but according to Business Insider’s Jason Guerrasio the actor did not even come out on stage when called upon. Corden told Zoe Ball he yet to see “Cats,” but he’s well aware of the critical backlash. As Corden put it, “I’ve heard it’s terrible.”
“Cats” has received some of the worst film reviews of 2019. On Rotten Tomatoes, the musical has earned a horrendous 18% from 186 reviews. “Cats” doesn’t fare much better on Metaritic, where it has a score of 32. The movie is turning into a box office bomb after grossing just $6.5 million in the U.S. over its opening weekend. Estimates put the film’s production budget near the $100 million mark. It doesn’t appear that international grosses will save “Cats” either as the film brought in $4.4 million for a debut global haul of just $10.9 million.
Corden’s co-star Jason Derulo has spoken out against the “Cats” critical backlash by telling TMZ, “Any time you defy what an art form is, any time you defy all rules, there’s going to be some push-back, obviously. But it’s an incredible piece of art done by some of the best people in the world. I am just excited for the people to actually see it because reviewers, I mean, what the hell do they know? Have they made a film ever in their life?”
Additional “Cats” actors like Robbie Fairchild have encouraged moviegoers to check out the movie despite negative critical and social media buzz. “Cats” has been the butt of jokes since its first trailer debuted over the summer and revealed a first look at the CGI fur used to turn the human actors into felines.
“When you think about ‘Avatar,’ when Avatar first came out, everyone was like, ‘Ooh, oh god!'” Fairchild said at the “Cats” premiere. “But I think ‘Avatar’ did pretty well. So I think we’re OK.”
“Cats” is now playing in theaters nationwide.