Josie and the Pussycats, the Archie Comics adaptation from Can't Hardly Wait directors Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, has come to HBO Max. The film, released in 2001, starred Rachael Leigh Cook (who recently admitted that its failure put her in "movie jail" for a while afterwards) along with American Pie's Tara Reid and Sin City's Rosario Dawson. The movie, which cost around $40 million, ultimately made less than $20 million at the box office, disappointing MGM, Universal, and the film's stars. In the years since, however, it has become an unexpected cult classic, with stories that trumpet how underrated and brilliant it is hitting the internet every few months.
The film may not have been a box office smash, but it has gone on to become a cult classic, with anniversary screenings and even a concert in recent years that brought Letter to Cleo's Kay Hanley (who provided Josie's singing voice) to an Alamo Drafthouse cinema for an epic night. More recently, it inspired Josie and the Podcats, a six-episode podcast that tracks the history of the development, production, release, and legacy of the movie.
The film is a lampoon of the commercialization of the music industry, and it features corporate logos everywhere. Since the whole film talks about "selling out," plenty of critics complained that the movie was guilty of hypocrisy. It centers on the titular band, who are manipulated to the top of the Billboard charts to replace DuJour, a boy band who had asked too many questions of their shadowy record label.
In one sign of the film's enduring cult status, writer Maria Lewis and her co-host Blake Howard currently host Josie and the Podcats, a new miniseries available on Spotify that explores the film's history. It's there that filmmakers Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont revealed that they had -- fairly recently -- tried to pitch the idea to Netflix.
"We almost did a DuJour movie a couple of years ago," Kaplan told Josie and the Podcats.
"Yes," Elfont added. "We pitched it, with Seth [Green] and Breckin [Meyer], to Netflix. But it was before Popstar, and essentially it would have been Popstar."
Such a movie is still something Scrubs and Josie star Donald Faison talks about; he recently pitched exactly that on an episode of his hit podcast Fake Doctors, Real Friends.
"That would be a good movie to come out -- the DuJour reunion. Backstreet's going on tour, New Edition's goign on tour, all these major bands from back int he day are going on tour. DuJour should go on tour and see if they can rekindle the light that they had when they were popular in Riverdale," Faison said.
You can check out Josie and the Pussycats, once called one of the most underrated comic book movies of all time by ComicBook.com, on HBO Max.