Andrew Lloyd Webber changed the stage-play dynamic with the 1981 premiere of his hit musical ‘Cats,’ based on the poetry 1939 collection ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ by celebrated author T.S. Eliot. The play has made $3 Billion and led to a film adaption in 1998 that reconstructed the production.
Its popularity eventually led to a 2019 feature film adaption helmed by ‘The King’s Speech’ director Tom Hooper. It would be described as one of the worst movies ever produced with critics and audiences describing it as “creepy” and becoming a box-office bomb.
The public was not exclusive in their rejection of the film. Webber himself stated that he hated the movie so much, he told Vanity Fair that he went out and adopted a dog for the first time in his life.
“‘Cats’ was off-the-scale all wrong,” Lloyd Webber said describing the film. “There wasn’t really any understanding of why the music ticked at all. I saw it and I just thought, ‘Oh, God, no.’ It was the first time in my 70-odd years on this planet that I went out and bought a dog. So the one good thing to come out of it is my little Havanese puppy.”
During the pandemic lockdown, Webber sought to get the dog listed as a “therapy” pet so he could take the pet with him to New York.
“I wrote off and said I needed him with me at all times because I’m emotionally damaged and I must have this therapy dog,” he explained. “The airline wrote back and said, ‘Can you prove that you really need him?’ And I said ‘Yes, just see what Hollywood did to my musical “Cats.”’ Then the approval came back with a note saying, ‘No doctor’s report required.’”
The ‘Cats’ film is estimated to have lost distributor Universal Pictures $114 million, winning “Worst Picture” at the 2020 Golden Raspberry Awards.
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