With its star-studded cast, an original song from cat school alumna Taylor Swift, and award-winning director, Universal hoped Cats would be an Oscars contender; instead, it’s one of the biggest bombs in years, and the studio pulled its For Your Consideration campaign. What the heck happened? How did Cats end up in the litter box?
A rushed production cycle didn’t help: principal photography began in December 2018 and ended in April 2019, a mere eight months before Cats, with its extensive visual effects (cat boobs), was supposed to come out. No wonder director Tom Hooper didn’t finish the final cut until the day before the world premiere. According to the Hollywood Reporter, when the first widely-mocked trailer was released, “There was some redesign work at this point, including on James Corden’s Bustopher Jones, who was given a more ‘comedic’ look with a bigger mustache and longer hair. In the time leading to the release, sources say VFX work was behind schedule [and] the sound mix was late.”
The Reporter article paints a picture of a movie that was doomed from the start, with a director who “kept adjusting the effects” and help from the team behind The Lion King:
The VFX for Cats was handled by two Technicolor-owned VFX houses, MPC (led by its London headquarters) and Mill Film (primarily out of its outposts in Montreal and Adelaide, Australia), along with work out of additional bases of these companies, including those in India and the recently shuttered MPC Vancouver. A leading VFX house, MPC also created the visual effects/animation for Jon Favreau’s July Disney hit The Lion King, and multiple sources say members of that VFX team, including Lion King‘s MPC VFX supervisor Adam Valdez, were brought in to help finish Cats after Lion King wrapped.
The last two films that the “recently shuttered” (as in, just last month) MPC Vancouver studio worked on: Cats and Sonic the Hedgehog.
(Via Hollywood Reporter)