Grumpy Cat Gets A Movie Deal

By Elisa Black-Taylor

Grumpy Cat has now been signed to star in her own movie. She is a household name around the world, with more than 930,000 likes on her Facebook page. She’s had television appearances on Today, Good Morning America, CBS Evening News and Anderson Cooper Live. Her next big deal may be the big screen.

Grumpy cat exploitation

Grumpy cat exploitation. Photo by David Berkowitz (words by Michael)

The project is being created by New Line, with Mark Steilen doing the writing and Will Ferrell and Jack Black starring.

Broken Road’s Todd Garner and Sean Robins have teamed up with Grumpy Cat’s manager Ben Lashes and representative Al Hassas to make a Garfield type of movie staring the famous diva.

This is likely to be a good business decision, considering the awards Tardar Sauce (A.K.A. Grumpy Cat) picked up in 2012. MSNBC named her the most influential cat of 2012. Mashable awarded her a most important Meme in 2012. And lets not forget the 120,000 subscribers and over 20 million hits to YouTube.

Grumpy Cat also has a line of her own merchandise available at major retailers, including Wal Mart and has partnered with Friskies for even more publicity.

I wonder what kind of plot we’ll be seeing with Grumpy Cat. I can picture her in a movie similar to That Darn Cat, which was made when I was very young. Of course, movie makers need to remember a cat will not perform on command. A cat will do what a cat wants when the cat feels like doing it.

Would the readers here like to see a movie with Grumpy Cat as the star? Or do you think it’s exploitation?

Let’s just leave the sweet little critter alone and let her nap in peace…(Amanda Kooser at cnet)

I grew up in the days of Bengi and Lassie and Rin Tin Tin (oops, that last one REALLY gives away my age!). But those were dogs, who I believe are much more reliable when it comes to tricks for treats. I think it would depend on how the movie trailer looks as to whether I’d want to bother seeing the movie. I’m not a big fan of Will Ferrell anyway. I do enjoy Jack Black, but I’d be seeing the movie because I enjoy his work more than because a cat is starring.

The one question I ask myself anytime I see this poor cat is “will she ever have the chance to live a normal life?” My cats are in the spotlight, to an extent, but only to the point of my chasing them around with a camera. They never have to perform on command as making a full length movie would require. Also people are forgetting that she has a deformity and may be in discomfort.

I’m afraid Grumpy Cat will find the entire situation boring, or stressful. Either way, she’s likely to feel as grumpy as she looks by the time Hollywood finishes with this newest project and she already has a reason to feel grumpy. There is also a big question mark over whether such a film can be successful. Is this going too far, squeezing too much out of a vulnerable little cat?


Facebook Discussion


Grumpy Cat Gets A Movie Deal — 20 Comments

  1. There’s a big difference in taking a few pictures and running a webpage than in dragging the poor cat around the country for public appearances where she has to be in what’s likely terrifying situations. Wonder if she’ll be expected at different premieres of the movie. More travel and more manhandling. And to think it’s not considered animal cruelty…

  2. That poor little cat,why on earth don’t they just leave her in peace,being deformed means her life span may not be very long.They should stop mauling her about,I’ve seen pictures of idiots queuing up to have their photo taken with her,stupid freaks,now making a film of her misfortune is going a step too far.

  3. Tardar Sauce lives here in Arizona and is frequently on our local news. They reported that she will most likely have nothing to do with the making of the movie it will be all CGI. I assume they will at least need to do a 360 degree image scan of her as the basis for animation. She will also have to make personal appearances in connection to the movie. This can be highly demanding on a human, let alone a little disabled kitty.

    I love those old Disney cat movies like That Darn Cat!, The Amazing Journey and my favorite, The Cat from Outerspace. I also loved the cat Binx (voiced by NCIS’s Sean Murray)in Disney’s 1993 Hocus Pocus. All these cats were treat loving animals. Like Daisy the Curly Cat, they were eager to earn their treats. I think it is a fair exchange, because as Elisa said above, you cannot get a cat to do anything it doesn’t want to. I would rather see a live cat, I would. However, I certainly would rather have CGI vs. Tardar Sauce being forced to do something that is hard on her. So I will see it (I love Jack Black too) as long as she is not in it. (at least more than a few shots)

    • Nice point. If the movie is all CGI then Tardar doesn’t have to do much except promote the film, which may be too much.

      My problem is the whole circus. What is it about humans that we can become obsessed with a disabled, dwarf cat with a Snowshoe cat face that is distorted because of bone malformation?

    • That’s great to hear. I worry about dog chase scenes that always seem to work their way into cat movies. I just hate to think of poor Grumpy traumatized by any of this. I read she only has once a week photo sessions. I hope she gets to enjoy being a cat and isn’t being unhappy with all of this.

  4. Absolutely – I second everything you just said Ruth. Somewhere along the way a choice is being made and it’s not the cat’s choice, whose name I prefer not use. There is humour, there is derogatory humour and there is laughing directly at derogatory humour. When it comes to a cat I am not keen on any of them although of course there is a place for laughter and fun and humour but it should not be at expense of respect. It should be the kind of funny you could openly laugh out loud about were it another human and they wouldn’t be offended. I’m getting into detail here but the ultimate question with all this internet cat humor lies with these parameters. Some more analysis needs to be made by alot more people – what does it say about us all of this laughing at a cat that looks unhappy because of a deformity. If it were a person Nobody would even dare to laugh in the same room. There lies the point for me. I believe my cats know when I am laughing at them in their discontent so I don’t do it, there are some things you just dont laugh outloud at your cat about because you make them feel uncomfortable and you make them feel like for a moment you are not entirely with them in this life no matter what. I wouldn’t want my cats to feel like I’m weird or just not connected and that effects where I draw the funny line.

    To be fair there is a lot of fun and humour in living with cats. There is no end when you live with a few cats – they do funny things and one would be a prude not to laugh but it’s all in the how and what and when of it.

    • Excellent comment. Completely right.

      If it were a person Nobody would even dare to laugh in the same room. There lies the point for me.

      For me to. It explains why this is exploitation of a companion animal. Companion animals are not protected. They have lesser rights. Almost no rights. Therefore they are exploited.

    • Marc you are so right, cats hate being laughed ‘at’ but love being laughed ‘with’
      There is a HUGE difference! They are natural born comedians, I know ours sometimes do something funny then look at us as if to say ‘this will make you laugh’ Jozef lies on his side and rolls over and looks back over his shoulder to make sure we are watching lol Walter sits on the table at the top of the stairs and pops his head over the bannister shouting ‘look at meeee-ow’ lol
      There are a lot of insensitive people, I’m fed up of pictures and captions of Tardar coming up from some of my facebook contacts, people I would have thought would never help the exploitation of a disabled cat.
      Sorry but I think anyone paying to watch the film is helping along this exploitation!
      Once in a neighbour’s house she had a Garfield film on TV and she was laughing at him trying to escape from a cat carrier, yes it was only a cartoon but to me anything showing a cat’s discomfort is not at all funny.

      • cats hate being laughed ‘at’ but love being laughed ‘with’

        This is the big difference and most people – the voyeur types – are laughing at Tardar. I can’t speak for other people but for me it is as clear as day that she is being exploited yet for many people they don’t see this. I find that odd. Perhaps they are in denial.

  5. The poor cat is being outrageously exploited now, people have a choice whether to appear in a film, those with big egos love to do it, animals don’t have that choice.
    There has to be dozens of strangers around to make any film, strange voices and sounds and lights and all the goings on can’t be anything other than upsetting to a cat.
    It’s not a cat’s life to be constantly toted around and used as a peep show let alone to be used to make a film to make money, but money is some peoples God!
    A cat’s life is very short in comparison to ours, I think that they should be allowed to live that life in peace doing what cats like to do!

  6. Freaks, both humans and animals have always been exploited in society for sheer voyeurism.Charles .Barnum was the most famous man for introducing freaks in his circus acts for “Barnum & Bailey” circus.The same is happening to “Grumpy cat” in the modern 21st century era, the human owners profiting and hopefully a little money from the profits going to cat or animal charity.

    • Freaks

      Yes, the poor human is obsessed with extremes and has always been fascinated by freaky and weird animals. YouTube viewing figures confirm that.

  7. I think she is the sweetest thing. however Micheal has a very valid point, Tardar is a special cat. I believe a few pic here & there r fine, especially if they r taken in her normal activities. the few times I’ve seen her move, it seems to be a bit of a problem for her. making some money to care for her isn’t a bad thing as long as she is alright. it should all be about her & her brothers welfare, food, meds, proper living cond, love would be nice.

    • Absolutely agree with you. Some pictures and a video would be OK if created respectfully. Make some money and use it to help kids or cats or something like that and how about some therapy cat work? Personally I think people have conveniently brushed discomfort and health issues under the carpet because it stands in the way of making money.

  8. I’d really like to think Sealy influenced a lot of people in 2012. But he didn’t win any awards because I only photograph him for short periods of time. I’ll bet people think twice about cranking a car once they’ve read his story. His days are spent relaxing on his pillow. Yesterday he played nurse to Laura because she’s very sick. He’s still right by her side.

  9. Aha! That’s where the CGI and special effects will come in–putting her distinguishing characteristics on a less grumpy kitty. But if they did a car chase or an explosion while she is there, all bets are off.

  10. She wil l probably have body doubles and stunt doubles among cats who are more or less trained. Usually with an animal star there are multiples so nobody gets too tired or stressed.
    If Grumpy grins, you’ll know there’s something wrong!

  11. People know my views on this. I’ll just briefly restate that it was exploitation several months ago, but now it is gross exploitation. There is little regard for the cat and it is disrespectful of this cat. She is a deformed cat and that may not solely be a case of her physical appearance being different. She may have discomfort or pain. We know how good cats are at concealing pain. Her owners are making a lot of money from their cat. They have made weak claims that they give some money to charity. Feeble. How much? A tiny fraction is my guess and as a public relations exercise. It sort of disgusts me, I am sorry to say.

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