The 30-year-old singer/actor was among the ensemble cast for the widely panned film, which was a live-action remake of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit Broadway musical. Derulo, who took on the role of Rum Tum Tugger, told the Telegraph he initially believed Cats was the perfect film to mark his big-screen debut because it "checked all the boxes."
"For the longest time, I was trying to figure out what’s the perfect first role, Cats checked all the boxes," he said. "You can't get a more start-studded cast, you don't get a more respected director than an Oscar winner (Tom Hooper), and Rum Tum Tugger is a legacy role, a standout character in a classic musical ... Even when I saw the trailer, I got chills down my spine! I thought it was gonna change the world."
The Cats ensemble cast was, indeed, stacked with some of the biggest names in entertainment: Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Rebel Wilson, and James Corden, just to name a few. But despite its heavy star-power, the film bombed at the box office, with a reported net loss of $113.6 million, according to Deadline.
The film was on the receiving end of online roasting even before it hit theaters, as many slammed its CGI effects as off-putting and creepy. Following the criticism and disappointing ticket sales, Universal announced it would release an updated version of Cats with "improved visual effects." But those changes obviously couldn't save the film, which received a total of six 2020 Razzies, including Worst Picture, Worst Screenplay, and Worst Director.