Dr. Seuss’s widow decided not to allow any more live-action films of Dr. Seuss’ work to be made. She made the decision after the Cat in the Hat film fell flat. The Cat in the Hat was made in 2003. It was made in the form of a slapstick comedy, and followed the book, though not very closely. Perhaps that was the reason it failed so badly.
If it had stayed closer to the intentions and ideas of the book, it may not have been so sub-par. The movie received almost no positive reviews. On the Rotten Tomatoes website it received a positive response from only 11% of reviewers. On Metacritic, it barely fared better with a score of 19/100. The movie went on to win a lot of Razzie “worst” awards, including Worst Picture, Worst Actor, and Worst Director.
It was especially criticized for having mature content. For example, the cat calls a garden hoe a “dirty hoe.” The movie was rated PG, but many complained it should have been PG-13. The Cat in the Hat was the second of Seuss’ books to be made with live action.
Horton Hears a Who was made afterwards and clearly considered the negative reactions to the Cat in the Hat. It was made with animated characters and was rated G. Did you like Cat in the Hat?