Cats Don't Dance

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Cats Don't Dance
Cats dont dance poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byMark Dindal
Produced byBill Bloom
Timothy Campbell
Paul Gertz
David Kirschner
Screenplay byRoberts Gannaway
Cliff Ruby
Elana Lesser
Story byMark Dindal
Robert Lence
Brian McEntee
Rick Schneider-Calabash
David Womersley
Kelvin Yasuda
StarringScott Bakula
Jasmine Guy
Ashley Peldon
John Rhys-Davies
Kathy Najimy
Don Knotts
Music bySteve Goldstein (Score)
Randy Newman (Songs)
Editing byDan Molina
StudioTurner Feature Animation
Distributed byWarner Bros. Family Entertainment
(USA and Japan)
Turner Pictures Worldwide
(International)
Release date(s)
  • March 26, 1997 (1997-03-26)
Running time75 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$32 million[1]
Box office$3,588,602[1]
 
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Cats Don't Dance
Cats dont dance poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster by John Alvin
Directed byMark Dindal
Produced byBill Bloom
Timothy Campbell
Paul Gertz
David Kirschner
Screenplay byRoberts Gannaway
Cliff Ruby
Elana Lesser
Story byMark Dindal
Robert Lence
Brian McEntee
Rick Schneider-Calabash
David Womersley
Kelvin Yasuda
StarringScott Bakula
Jasmine Guy
Ashley Peldon
John Rhys-Davies
Kathy Najimy
Don Knotts
Music bySteve Goldstein (Score)
Randy Newman (Songs)
Editing byDan Molina
StudioTurner Feature Animation
Distributed byWarner Bros. Family Entertainment
(USA and Japan)
Turner Pictures Worldwide
(International)
Release date(s)
  • March 26, 1997 (1997-03-26)
Running time75 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$32 million[1]
Box office$3,588,602[1]

Cats Don't Dance is a 1997 American animated musical comedy film, distributed by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment and notable as the only fully animated feature produced by Turner Feature Animation. This studio was merged during the post-production of Cats Don't Dance into Warner Bros. Animation after the merger of Time Warner with Turner Broadcasting in 1996. Turner Feature Animation had also produced the animated portions of Turner's The Pagemaster (1994).

Set in a world where human beings and anthropomorphic animals live side-by-side, it focuses on a cat named Danny who wants to break into show business in Hollywood. The film stars the voices of Scott Bakula and Jasmine Guy, and was the directorial debut of former Disney animator Mark Dindal, its musical numbers, written by Randy Newman, and for Gene Kelly's contributions as choreographer, after his death in 1996. The film was Kelly's final film project which is dedicated to him. Despite receiving positive reviews from critics, Cats Don't Dance failed at the box office.

Plot[edit]

Set in 1939, Danny, an optimistic cat, dreams of becoming a film star, so he travels from Kokomo, Indiana to Hollywood, California in hopes of starting a career there ("Danny's Arrival Song"). Danny is selected to feature in a film that is currently in production alongside a female cat named Sawyer, but is dismayed upon learning how minor his role is and tries to weasel his way into more time in the limelight ("Little Boat on the Sea"). However, Danny winds up angering the star of the film, Darla Dimple, a popular, but spoiled child actress, so, she assigns her valet, Max, to intimidate Danny into no longer trying to enlarge his part in the film.

Later, Danny learns from his fellow animal film extras that human actors are normally given more important roles than animals, a fact that none of them are very happy with but know they must accept. Danny, however, longs for the spotlight and tries to come up with a plan that will encourage humans to provide animal actors with better parts, such as by assembling a massive cluster of animals and trying to put on a musical performance for the humans to see ("Animal Jam"). Later, he is given advice by Darla Dimple (while masking her true heartless personality with a sweet one, as she always does) through song on how to interest and satisfy audiences ("Big and Loud"), and Danny takes this information to heart and groups together the animals for yet another performance in hopes of attracting the attention of the humans. However, Darla, fearing that her spotlight is in jeopardy with the animals around, has Max assist her in flooding Mammoth Studios while the director is giving an interview on his latest film and getting the animals blamed and fired. Everybody is depressed by being barred from acting in Mammoth Studios (especially Danny, who was convinced by Darla that she was trying to help the animals), Danny comes up with a plan for attracting the humans' attention yet again.

On the night of the premiere of the Darla Dimple film that was being shot, "Lil' Ark Angel", after the screening, Danny calls the audience's attention and the animals put on a musical performance for everyone that entertains and impresses its viewers ("Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"). Meanwhile, Darla attempts to sabotage the show, but finds herself to her horror inadvertently enhancing it instead. Finally, Darla, maddened with frustration, shouts at Danny for trying to attract all of the focus away from her, and confesses to flooding Mammoth Studios. Darla's screaming is inadvertently picked up and amplified by a nearby microphone, unveiling the truth much to the dismay of the audience, Mr. Mammoth, and Flanigan, and having her fired. So, the animals are rewarded with larger parts from then onward, their dreams coming true. The film then ends with a selection of film poster parodies, putting the animals in certain roles, before Darla as a grumpy janitor puts "The End" poster on a wall.

Cast[edit]

Musical Numbers[edit]

  1. Opening Song: Our Time Has Come
  2. Danny's Arrival Song
  3. Little Boat On The Sea
  4. Animal Jam
  5. Big and Loud
  6. Big and Loud (Reprise)
  7. Tell Me Lies
  8. Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
  9. Our Time Has Come (Reprise)

Production[edit]

The film was launched in 1993 as a vehicle for Michael Jackson, who would produce, star, and be a consultant in the music and choreography. It would have been a hybrid live-action/CGI film.[2] The film was ultimately made without Jackson's involvement.

Release[edit]

Warner Bros. attached "Pullet Surprise", a newly produced Looney Tunes short featuring Foghorn Leghorn, to the original theatrical release, and "The Big Sister", a Dexter's Laboratory What-A-Cartoon! short, following the film in its original home video release.

Critical reception[edit]

Cats Don't Dance was released to mixed to positive reviews (it has a 69% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes)[3] and became a casualty of the Turner/Time Warner merger: it received a traditional theatrical release in 1997 but without fanfare and did not draw an audience, perhaps due to minimal advertising, a lack of promotional merchandise (only two book adaptations and a set of toys from Subway) and having only one theatrical trailer prepared. Director Mark Dindal was angry with Warner over the lack of advertising and the failed marketing campaign.

Box office[edit]

The film's total domestic theatrical gross was $3,566,637,[1] making it a box office bomb in contrast with its $32 million production budget.[1] Despite being a commercial failure, Cats Don't Dance was the first non-Disney animated film to have won the Best Animated Feature award at the 1997 Annie Awards.

Home media[edit]

Cats Don't Dance got its first home video release on VHS and Laserdisc on August 19, 1997 by Warner Home Video. While a standard 4:3 VHS, the Laserdisc was special in the fact that it remains to this day the only home video release of the film in its theatrical widescreen format in North America (the film is available on DVD in widescreen in Europe). The Laserdisc was never re-released and has become very rare. The VHS re-released for its second and final time on March 2, 1999. Home media sales improved more than its box office.

The film saw its first DVD releases on August 19, 1997 and September 2, 2002, as a 4:3 pan-and-scan DVD with bonus features. The most recent release was a re-release of the same DVD, but bundled with Quest for Camelot, which was released on May 2, 2006. In July 2008, Cats Don't Dance was released on DVD in widescreen in Germany, Spain, and the Benelux countries (Belgium/the Netherlands/Luxembourg).

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Cats Don't Dance". The Numbers. Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Michael hard at work on 'Cats Don't Dance'. Reading Eagle (June 15, 1993)
  3. ^ Cats Don't Dance at Rotten Tomatoes

External links[edit]