In a nutshell: Video games receiving patches post-release is a common occurrence, often to address issues discovered by players, but it rarely happens with movies. Now, however, an updated version of the musical Cats that includes “some improved visual effects” is being sent to theaters.
As reported by Hollywood Reporter, a memo was sent from Universal explaining the change, which comes at the request of director Tom Hooper.
Cats has been torn apart by critics since its release, and Hooper said it was finished a day before the Friday premiere, requiring him to work “36 hours in a row.” Some viewers have spotted mistakes in the film, including Judy Dench having a human hand complete with wedding ring.
This isn’t a joke: CATS was rushed into theaters before being finished so a new version is being sent to theaters with updated effects. How do you know if you have the old version? Look for Judi Dench’s human hand, wedding ring and all. pic.twitter.com/VDUOevePU9— Jenelle Riley (@jenelleriley) 22 December 2019
Exactly what effects, other than fixing the errors, are being added to the updated version haven’t been revealed, though Universal did tell exhibitors that the running time isn't affected.
The updated movie was made available to download yesterday via a satellite server. Exhibitors who don’t have access to the server will receive the new version on a hard drive by tomorrow. Universal has asked for the current release of Cats to be replaced as soon as possible.
Vanity Fair reports that while changes to films after they release are rare, they do happen. Stanley Kubrick trimmed some of The Shining after its first weekend, and Snow Dogs, The Program, and Wonder Boys all had post-release edits.
It’s very unlikely that the new version of Cats, which had a $6.5 million opening, will change critics’ opinions or make people more willing to see it, of course.