If you thought Internet cats were going to stay on the Internet, you were sadly mistaken. It’s just as well that the following news isn’t being written up an April 1st, because if it was then we’d probably get criticized for making the prank articles too obvious.
For those who aren’t up to speed with the Internet memes currently in vogue, Grumpy Cat™ is a picture of a white and brown cat with a grumpy expression that was posted on Reddit in September 2012 and subsequently went viral as a meme. The cat’s actual name is Tardar Sauce (“Tard” for short), and her owners were swift to monetize her surprising popularity, posting videos of her on Youtube, signing an advertising deal with Purina to have Grumpy Cat™ appear in Friskies adverts, and setting up an online shop where visitors can buy T-shirts, mugs, magnets, calendars and even the Official Grumpy Cat™ Book. If you think this sounds like an episode of South Park, that’s because it more or less is the plot of a South Park episode (Season 12, Episode 4: “Canada on Strike”).
If you can’t get enough of Grumpy Cat™ and you’ve been thinking to yourself that you’d love to see the surly feline on the big screen, then it looks like you may get your wish. Deadline reports that Broken Road’s Todd Garner (Jack and Jill, Paul Blart: Mall Cop) has teamed up with Grumpy Cat™ PR reps Ben Lashes and Al Hassas to produce a feature film about a talking version of Tardar Sauce. Garner explained his enthusiasm for the project, saying:
“This started off as a picture of a cat, but rare is an image that evokes that much comedy. You read all of the memes and the comments, and one is funnier than the next. We think we can build a big family comedy around this character.”
Since it takes a lot of training to get animals ready to act for a feature film, and the talking-animal aspect of the movie means that the character will probably be computer-animated anyway, it’s very doubtful that the original Grumpy Cat™ will actually be starring in her own movie. At best, the only awareness she’ll have of it will be when her owners start buying a more expensive brand of cat food, or if she gets dragged onto the red carpet.
All joking aside, this sounds like a rather desperate attempt to cash in on the temporary popularity of a meme that may not even be popular by the time the movie actually hits theaters (if it ever does). Much-loved as the Grumpy Cat™ meme might be, it’s difficult to see how they’re going to build up a compelling narrative around the central conceit of a cat with a slightly downturned mouth. Besides, we’ve already had two grumpy cat movies in the last decade - Garfield and Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties – and they were both terrible.
Next week: Dreamworks’ Charlie Bit My Finger, Twentieth Century Fox’s Numa Numa Guy, New Line Cinema’s Forever Alone and Terry Gilliam’s surrealist drug-fuelled adventure David After Dentist.
We’ll let you know if Grumpy Cat: The Movie makes any progress towards production.