The Cat In The Hat (also known as Dr. Seuss' The Cat In The Hat) is a 2021 American computer-animated comedy musical fantasy film directed by Erica Rivinoja and Arturo A. Hernandez in their directorial debuts and based on the 1957 book of the same name by Dr. Seuss. It is the third screen adaptation of the story after the 1971 TV special starring Allan Sherman, and the 2003 live-action film starring Mike Myers. The film is an animated version of the 2003 film, and stars Jack Black in the title role alongside JD McCrary, Brooklynn Prince, Michael Keaton, Jenna von Oy, and Bill Hader. Produced by Warner Animation Group in collaboration with Village Roadshow Pictures, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, and The Animation Picture Company, The Cat In The Hat was released theatrically in the United States on November 8, 2021 by Warner Bros. Pictures to received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for its animation, the musical score by Hans Zimmer and Tyler Bates, and Black's portrayal of the titular character, but criticism for its story, crude humor, innuendos, and lack of faithfulness to the source material. It grossed $313 million worldwide. A sequel, The Cat In The Hat 2, was released on January 19, 2025, which was largely considered an improvement over The Cat In The Hat.

The Cat In The Hat
Cat In Tha Hat.jpg

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Erica Rivinoja
Arturo A. Hernandez
Produced by John Davis
Mark A.Z. Dippe
Written by Alec Berg
David Mandel
Jeff Schaffer
Erica Rivinoja
Arturo A. Hernandez
Based on The Cat In The Hat
by Dr. Seuss
Starring Jack Black
JD McCrary
Brooklynn Prince
Michael Keaton
Jenna von Oy
Bill Hader
Narrated by Billy Dee Williams
Music by Hans Zimmer
Tyler Bates
Cinematography Stephen W. Childers
Edited by David Burrows
Chris McKay
Production company Warner Animation Group
Village Roadshow Pictures
Dr. Seuss Enterprises
The Animation Picture Company
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date November 8, 2021
Running time 105 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $130 million
Box office $313 million


Plot

Conrad and Sally Walden live in the city of Anville with their single mother Joan Walden, who works for neat-freak Hank Humberfloob. Joan is also dating their next-door-neighbor Lawrence "Larry" Quinn, much to Conrad's chagrin. One day, Joan is called back to the office, leaving the kids with babysitter Ms. Kwan (after the previous one quit) and forbidding them from entering the living room, which is being kept pristine for a party she is hosting that night.

When she leaves, it gets rainy outside. Sally and Conrad are bored until an anthropomorphic talking cat with a red-and-white-striped hat who intends to teach them how to have fun. The family fish does not want the cat around when Joan is away. The Cat leaves a trail of destruction and releases two troublemaking creatures named Thing 1 and Thing 2 from a crate he locks and forbids the children from tampering with. Despite the cat's warning, Conrad picks the lock, which attaches to the collar of the family dog Nevins. The Cat, Sally and Conrad then set out to find Nevins and the lock.

Meanwhile, Larry is revealed to be an unemployeed slob pretending to be a successful businessman in hopes of both marrying Joan for her money and sending Conrad off to military school for being a "hot-headed troublemaker". Larry sees Nevins running across the street and tracks Joan to tell her. The kids and the Cat retrieve Nevins but are too late to intercept Larry and Joan. Fed up with Conrad's selfishness, Sally angrily disowns him as her brother and leaves.

Meanwhile, Conrad realizes the Things do exactly the opposite of what they are told and uses this to their advantage to have them stall Joan and Larry. Things 1 and 2 do so by posing as police officers. At the same time, Sally learns of Larry's evil plan and regrets abandoning Conrad. Sally incapacitates Larry and hops aboard a police motorcycle, all the while unnoticed by Joan, who is occupied talking to Things 1 and 2. As Conrad and the Cat drive, Sally catches up to them. Sally drives off a cliff and almost dies, but Conrad saves her, and the two reconcile.

At the moment they arrive home, an enraged Larry cuts them off but sneezes uncontrollably due to his allergic reaction to the Cat. The Cat takes the advantage and scares him away, only for them to find out the house has been turned into a surreal realm called "The Mother Of All Messes", with Larry falling into a gooey abyss. They navigate through the Mother Of All Messes and lock the crate. The house returns to its normal proportions, but then immediately falls apart. Figuring out the Cat planned the whole day, the kids turn hostile towards him and order him to leave.

Conrad dejectedly prepares to face the consequences when Joan comes home, to which Sally follows suit. Just when it looks like hope is lost forever, the Cat returns with an impressive cleaning invention and fixes up the house. The kids reconcile with the Cat, who bids them farewell and departs just as Joan arrives. Covered with goo, Larry arrives at the scene, thinking he busted the kids. Seeing how clean her house is, Joan disbelieves Larry and dumps him. The party becomes a success. Sally tells Conrad she loves him, and the two share a kiss. Joan spends quality time with her kids while the Cat and Things 1 and 2 walk off into the sunset.

Cast

Reception

Box office

The Cat In The Hat opened on November 8, 2021 in theaters and grossed $50 million its opening weekend. It ended its theatrical run on March 11, 2022, having grossed $100 million in North America and $213 million internationally, for a worldwide total of $313 million. Produced on a $130 million budget, the film was a box office bomb in the United States but more successful internationally.

Critical response

The Cat In The Hat received mixed reviews from critics and audiences upon release. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 40% approval rating based on 273 reviews. The consensus reads, "The same amount of adult content renders Warner Bros.' animated adaptation of the children's book unfaithful, but the performance of Jack Black as the title character make it enjoyable for the youngsters". On Metacritic, it has a weighted score of 48 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.

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