When the first Cats trailer (for the live-action movie), the world collectively paused and, frankly, began to take stock of reality. That’s because the trailer (starring Jennifer Hudson, Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, and Taylor Swift) was enhanced with a strange thing called “digital fur technology” that kinda crashed into a steep cliff of the uncanny valley. People genuinely couldn’t figure out what they were watching, but they knew it was unsettling. Well, Ian McKellan made things even worse by attempting to explain the essence of the movie, and then the second trailer somehow amplified the matter.
Yes, the Cats situation truly grew out of hand, but director Tom Hooper’s fur doesn’t seem ruffled at all. He spoke with Empire to declare how “quite entertaining” he found the fuss to be. Hooper was thrilled that the movie was “apparently the number-one trending topic in the world” while people lost their minds, but he also wants everyone to know that the trailer doesn’t represent the final look of the film. No, really:
“We’d only finished shooting in March, so all the visual effects [in the trailer] were at quite an early stage. Possibly there were, in the extremity in some of the responses, some clues in how to keep evolving [the production]. When you watch the finished film, you’ll see that some of the designs of the cats have moved on since then, and certainly our understanding of how to use the technology to make them work has gone up, too.”
This is an interesting strategy for sure. Hooper almost seems to be daring people to purchase tickets and take his word that effects will be much better than what they’ve already seen, which seems like a risky strategy for Universal Pictures. That runs counter to reactively changing things up like the very purposeful overhaul following the recent Sonic the Hedgehog backlash, which led Paramount Pictures to revamp the character’s look (and especially the teeth). Now, folks want to see the new Sonic movie, whereas with Cats, probably not? The movie will open on December 20, the same weekend as The Rise Of Skywalker, which is tracking to obliterate its feline competition. In other words, if Cats really has better technology to offer, now’s the time to start showing it off.