However, four days after Cat People started shooting, Tourneur was almost fired when production chief Lew Ostrow watched some raw footage from the movie. Viertel’s friend turned out to be Val Lewton himself, who took a liking to Russell and gladly handed her the part. She’d go on to make appearances in many of his other films, including Cat People’s 1944 sequel, The Curse of the Cat People. Cat People was the first motion picture that Val Lewton had ever been put in charge of. Whereas Citizen Kane had earned a paltry $1.5 million at the box office, Cat People raked in $4 million—enough to make it the highest-grossing RKO film of the year.