Josie and the Pussycats Star Claims Film's Failure Put Her in "Movie Jail"

Josie and the Pussycats has become a cult favorite in the nearly two decades since its release, but the 2001 film loosely based on the Archie Comics series of the same name didn't exactly win the box office. The film brought in just $14.9 million at the box office -- less than half its budget -- and it's the box office failure of the film that star Rachael Leigh Cook says landed her in "movie jail".

In a recent interview, Cook told Collider that while she had originally auditioned for another of Josie director's Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont's films -- Can't Hardly Wait -- that role went to Jennifer Love Hewitt. The directors ended up casting her as the titular Josie McCoy for Josie and the Pussycats. But when the film went on to underperform, it impacted her career.

"What's great about being 20, I was basically a teenager, when something like that happens is that no one really explains to you that it's not just not great news; it's news that's gonna continue to affect you in a very real way for a long time," Cook said. "And truthfully, only time can kind of show you that, so I understand why no one wanted to raise their hand and be like, 'This is not good for sure.' But it was not!"

She went on to explain that she and the other stars ended up in "movie jail", but she's still glad it was made -- and she's still proud of it.

"We all sort of went to, what's in the industry called 'movie jail' for that box office 'failing' and it took many years for people to get that movie," Cook said. "I'm just glad that we made something that I'm still proud of. It was a bit of a bumpy road onward from that, but we have something great to show from it and we're talking now about a movie that I really love, so I guess it all turned out the way it was supposed to be."

And one could certainly consider Josie and the Pussycat's cult status as part of that turning out the way it was supposed to. The film continues to have a cultural impact. In 2017, Ashleigh Murray -- who plays Josie in The CW's Riverdale -- said she'd love to see her Josie share the screen with the film's cast.


"It would be amazing if somehow all of the Pussycats from the movie made just like a cameo appearance in three different ways in three different situations," Murray told us at the time. "That would make me very happy. I don't know if there's any way that could happen, but maybe!"

What do you think about Cook's "movie jail" comments? Let us know in the comment section.