The team behind the big-screen version of the musical "Cats" appear to have coughed up a fur-ball, with the film set to lose millions.
Tom Hooper's adaptation for Universal clawed its way to $38 million globally after two weeks in theatres, a dismal figure that could result in $100 million in theatrical losses, according to rival studio executives.
After its disappointing $6.5 million debut ahead of Christmas, "Cats" failed to gain any traction during the busiest time of year for moviegoing.
The film was relegated to No. 9 on box office charts, scraping together $8.7 million over the five-day holiday frame.
Audiences, dissuaded by brutal reviews, instead made the choice to see Disney's "Frozen 2," "Spies in Disguise," or essentially anything that didn't involve Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift and Idris Elba pretending to be felines.
"Cats" cost $100 million to produce and set Universal back an additional $95 million to 100 million for global marketing and distribution fees, according to studio insiders.
Hooper's mad dash to complete the film in time to keep its December . 20 release date left editing blunders like a human hand, complete with a wedding ring, on Old Deuteronomy (Dench).
Negative reviews flooded the internet, with critics and audiences put off by the visual effects, a spectacle dubbed "digital fur technology."
"Cats" is based on Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical about a tribe of cats called the Jellicles, one of which will be selected to receive a new life.
Australian Associated Press