Cats may be one of the longest-running musicals of all time, but the 2019 movie adaptation has been described as “disastrous” by critics. Now, in what the Hollywood Reporter says is an “unheard of” move, Universal Pictures has notified movie theaters that it’s going to send around an updated version of the movie with altered special effects.
The Hollywood Reporter said it learned of the changes in an internal Universal memo that it obtained. The Reporter also cited sources that said director Tom Hooper requested the update in order to fix some of the CGI-heavy film’s visual effects. Variety had previously reported that Hooper had rushed to complete the movie, finishing it just hours before it was released.
Since the film was released on Dec. 20, viewers have pointed out many glaring and unsettling visual effects in the movie. In one scene, Judi Dench’s hand was shown, seemingly accidentally, without cat fur — including showing her wedding ring.
The Reporter said that movie theater operators and industry executives say that it is very unusual to alter the effects in a movie that is already in theaters. Others have pointed out that the move is similar to a software company deciding to patch a video game after it’s been released, to fix bugs or include new content.
However, Cats may need all the help it can get. The movie, which reportedly cost about $100 million to make, is projected to earn just $8.5 million for its opening, although it was projected to earn $15 million to $17 million.
Universal said that the new version will be available by satellite download on Sunday or by hard drive on Tuesday, and asked theaters to update the movie as soon as possible, according to the Reporter.