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‘Cats’ Lands December 2019 Release Date, ‘Wicked’ Delayed

The Jellicle Ball will go down just in time for Christmas 2019.

Universal Pictures and Working Title will release “Cats,” the big-screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s smash musical, on Dec. 20. The studio was originally going to unveil another musical sensation, “Wicked,” in that slot, but that film will be delayed and re-dated.

The story of a tribe of cats who meet each year to decide which among them will ascend to the Heaviside Layer in order to be reincarnated, is being directed by Oscar winner Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech,” “Les Misérables”). The cast boasts a number of heavyweights, including Ian McKellen, Jennifer Hudson, James Corden, and Taylor Swift. Universal said the picture will be choreographed by movement pioneer Wayne McGregor. Casting director Lucy Bevan is currently trying to figure out which performers will play the likes of Old Deuteronomy, Macavity, Skimbleshanks, and the Rum Tum Tugger.

“Cats” faces some stiff competition. Fox’s Hercule Poirot mystery “Death on the Nile” and “Star Wars: Episode IX” are both opening against the film.

Hooper and Lee Hall (“War Horse”) have adapted “Cats” for the screen. The film will also be produced by Monumental Pictures and The Really Useful Group, and executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Lloyd Webber, and Angela Morrison.

One of the longest-running shows in West End and Broadway history, “Cats” was first performed in London in 1981 and ran in New York City from 1987 to 2006.

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