1981 brought the world its first memories of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Cats," as the musical opened its doors in London’s West End for the very first time. From that moment on, the show based on T.S. Eliot’s poetry collection, "Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats," launched itself into the firmament of musical stars, leading to the show becoming a product that would live "now and forever" in fans’ hearts.
Now, in 2019, that magic is about to hit the big screen, as director Tom Hooper’s CATS is set to open on December 20 with a star-studded cast and a radical look to accompany such a daring adaptation. Which is funny, because if history had turned out differently, we’d have seen characters such as Macavity, Rum Tum Tugger and Bombalurina on the big screen much earlier, and in a different form.
Back in the ‘90s, Amblin Entertainment’s now-defunct animation arm, Amblimation, was actually tasked to adapt the play into a full-length feature in hand-drawn animation. While that project never took hold past the concept art phase, it more than likely helped keep the project in Universal’s field of sight, which eventually led to Tom Hooper’s big multimillion dollar musical being crafted for the world to enjoy this holiday season!
It's worth acknowledging that CATS has turned a legendary stage musical into a visual feast for movie audiences. Not to mention, with a cast that includes Taylor Swift, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Idris Elba and Jennifer Hudson, among other notables, there’s enough star power to seriously sell this feline frolic to the masses — something you can check out with your own eyes as you watch the film's most recent trailer below.
Perhaps the greatest advantage CATS has at the holiday box office is the fact that it's a musical. During the holidays, those types of films perform really well, as everyone’s already in a singing mood. With awards prospects also looming, and this being the adaptation of a stage hit, everything seems to be in place for this film to wow crowds (and voters) as we head toward the end of the year.
It took a while for CATS to make it to the big screen, but now the show will exist in a form and format that undoubtedly needed to wait until this modern moment to be fully realized. And its memory will live on, now and forever.
CATS opens in theatres on December 20, as part of the AMC Artisan Films series!