On Friday — the movie’s opening day — Universal notified thousands of theaters they will be receiving an updated version of Tom Hooper’s troubled film with “some improved visual effects,” according to a copy of the memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
The move is unheard of for a finished title already in release, according to cinema operators and Hollywood studio executives. Insiders say it is being done at Hooper’s request.
Hooper has been up front about the fact that he barely finished the CGI-heavy Cats in time for Monday’s world premiere in New York City. Sources say he subsequently wanted to make more tweaks to certain effects.
Working Title produced the star-studded Christmas film, which cost roughly $100 million to make after tax rebates and incentives and before marketing.
Universal’s dispatch to exhibitors said the changes do not affect the running time.
The studio declined comment on Saturday.
The updated movie will be available to download Sunday via a satellite server, while exhibitors who don’t have access to the server will receive a hard drive by Tuesday, per Universal’s note. The studio is asking that theaters replace the current print of Cats as soon as possible.
Cinemas received Cats this week in preparation of opening weekend.