Are You With Us?: Cats and Dogs
By Ryan Mazie
July 5, 2011
America loves talking animals. How much does America love talking animals, you might ask? So much so that by this Christmas the Alvin & the Chipmunks film trilogy will most likely be a billion dollar grossing film franchise worldwide (I must admit, I did contribute to this total).
Making a talking animal family movie is similar to opening up your own mint. These flicks are licenses to print money. So not surprisingly, this weekend Sony Pictures is releasing The Zookeeper with an array of talking animals to make enough money to buy their own zoo.
As a side note, if you want to know the second thing America loves, it is Zookeeper star Kevin James. Every live-action comedy in which he he has had a major role has grossed more than $120 million (let’s face it, can anybody really call The Dilemma a comedy?).
When picking Zookeeper's release date (originally supposed to be early October this year), Sony must have seen the success Warner Bros had this same weekend a decade earlier with Cats & Dogs. Costing a mere $60 million and raking in $200 million worldwide, Cats & Dogs proved that an investment in a talking animal puppet will go a long way.
Appealing to lovers of both animal breeds, the film opened up at the pole position with $21.7 million over its traditional three-day weekend. But with the Fourth of July falling on a Wednesday in 2001, the five-day total hit a much more impressive $35.8 million ($50 million adjusted). I was shocked that the film won the usually lucrative Independence Day frame. However, with the only other release being Scary Movie 2 (which missed the top spot by a smidge over $1 million), this was a surprisingly lame weekend.
With traditional summer legs, the film ended its run with $93.4 milion stateside. People really need to keep their money on a tighter leash (being a lover of corny wordplay, I couldn’t restrain myself any longer).
You might be wondering, what’s the plot? To be honest, it really doesn’t matter. It’s a movie with talking house pets! But for those of you who are still curious, the film imagines dogs and cats being James Bond-like spies in a war as old as the Pyramids in Egypt. The funny thing is that us humans are too oblivious and dumb to realize that any of this is happening (the movie might have a point. I mean, we shelled out over $200 million collectively to watch this crap).
While I can appreciate brain-numbing humor (I found Scary Movie 2 to still be hilarious) and corny jokes (look two paragraphs up), Cats & Dogs was not speedy but frantic. Not clever, but dim-witted. And worst of all, not dumb fun, but just plain dumb.
Written by John Requa and Glenn Ficara, I was surprised to learn that they also scripted the delightfully dirty Bad Santa and The Bad News Bears redo, as well as the under-seen Jim Carrey-starrer I Love You Phillip Morris. It turns out that these guys are better at making dirty words come out of kids’ mouths rather than appealing to them.