Cats: Lame opening for Cats at US and UK box office

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Taylor Swift in CatsImage source, Universal Pictures
Image caption,
Taylor Swift is just one member of Cats' all-star cast

The movie version of Cats has failed to live up to expectations at the box office, taking just $6.5m (£5m) at the North American box office.

The $100m (£77m) film, which was expected to make double that amount, debuted fourth on the US chart, with the new Stars Wars movie on top.

In the UK and Ireland, it grossed £3.4m, having been panned by critics.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, an updated print of Cats was sent out to cinemas on Friday.

The trade paper reported that the film's director, Tom Hooper, had ordered re-edits to his film with "some improved visual effects".

It is highly unusual for a finished title already on release to be altered in this way.

The movie has an all-star cast that includes Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Rebel Wilson and Jason Derulo and is based on the hit stage musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

With Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at number one at the US box office, Cats trailed after Jumanji: The Next Level and Frozen 2.

Hooper, who made Oscar-winning film The King's Speech, has been open about the fact that he only just managed to finish his CGI-heavy movie before its world premiere in New York.

Image source, Universal Pictures
Image caption,
Dame Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy

At the event, Hooper told Variety it was completed in a 36-hour sprint on the Sunday.

Image source, Universal Pictures
Image caption,
Francesca Hayward plays Victoria (centre), the white cat

Cats started on a bad footing even before release, with critics almost unanimously branding it a flop, even though social media reaction after the premiere had been more flattering.

The Daily Telegraph's Tim Robey called it a "sinister, all-time disaster from which no one emerges unscathed", giving the film no stars.

"Everything feels off, from the scale of the purpose-built set (which makes the cats look more like Borrowers) to the erratic interpretations of its musical numbers... Regarding cats or humans, Hooper, it seems, has nothing to say," said Simran Hans in the Guardian in her one-star review.

BBC News Arts Editor Will Gompertz said wrote that while he didn't think Cats was "terrible", he felt Tom Hooper had "missed the spot".

"The harsh truth is the film feels plastic, it has no heart or soul. That might well be a problem with the source material and its suitability for a transfer from stage to screen. Notwithstanding notable successes, the fact is not everything that is a hit in one medium works in another," he continued, giving the film two stars.

But the movie could still make up some ground after the main Christmas festivities are over and people head out to be entertained.

Two years ago, The Greatest Showman made $8.8m (£7m) over Christmas but ended up pulling in $435m (£334m) globally.

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