Universal sent a memo to theater owners that, despite Cats’ release and poor reviews, an updated version of the musical adaptation will arrive via satellite server Sunday, the Hollywood Reporter writes, adding the move to update a film of this magnitude mid-theatrical run is unprecedented.
Director Tom Hooper previously stated that visual effects work on the film was rushed in order to make Cats’ December 16th red carpet premiere date in New York City. “I finished it at 8 a.m. yesterday after 36 hours in a row. I just put the finishing touches on. So, I’m very happy to be here with it fully finished,” Hooper told Variety at the time. “The premiere should be the first time people get to see it, and this is genuinely a premiere.”
However, in the weeks before its theatrical arrival and now through its release, Hooper continued to tweak the visual effects, resulting in the updated film. Unfortunately, the movie’s runtime remains the same.
In its first weekend at the box office, Cats mustered just $6.5 million domestically despite screening in 3,380 theaters, Big Office Mojo reports. The musical reportedly cost over $100 million to make, not counting marketing and advertising costs.
As Peter Travers wrote in his scathing Rolling Stone review of Cats, “Talent is misused all through the film: There’s Sir Ian McKellan as Gus the Theater Cat, singing of his lost youth; Idris Elba as Macavity, the monster of depravity; and — God help her — Taylor Swift as Bombalurina, his accomplice in crime. Hooper traps the actors in an airless, lifeless bubble of a film that scarcely gives them room to breathe, much less develop a character. Instead, he misguidedly covers them in digital fur and bizarre makeup.”