Decades ago, Hollywood routinely turned to Broadway musicals to entice the masses, delivering big-screen versions that were often as good as or better than their inspirations (think "West Side Story," which Steven Spielberg is remaking for a 2020 release). 

These days, not that many musicals make it to a movie theater near you. But hopes are high for the latest: "Cats," with a starry cast including a Taylor Swift, Idris Elba and James Corden. Directed by Tom Hooper, the film is scheduled to open Dec. 20.

It's just the latest 21st century film adaptation of a Broadway musical. Here's a selected list.

By Calvin Wilson, Post-Dispatch theater critic