A version of Cats with updated visual effects is being sent to cinemas.

Well, this is new. It’s pretty well known that the big screen musical take on Cats had a race to the finish, with director Tom Hooper confirming that he only finished the movie the Sunday before its release last Friday. In particular, getting all the effects shots into place was a sizeable challenge.

The film has been pretty much eviscerated by critics (some of whom seem to be taking a lot of joy in giving it a punch), and its box office has fallen far short of what Universal was hoping (a $6.5m opening weekend in America is hard to put a positive spin on).

And over the weekend, it emerged that something unheard of was happening: that the special effects were being upgraded via a new version of the film that was being shipped to cinemas.

The news came to light via the following Twitter exchange…

Universal hasn’t confirmed this, it should be noted. But this must be the first time that a big studio movie has been updated within days of release, to upgrade its visuals. I can but be grateful this wasn’t an option available to George Lucas when he was making Star Wars movies.

It’s a troubling precedent, though, and it’s clearly unfair to those who were keenest to see the film. That those who paid to see the movie on release date will have seen a version of the movie that the studio behind it felt needed to be upgraded within days of release. Do those people get a refund, or a free ticket to see the updated version of the film?

I’m curious as to just how sizeable the effects changes are. But also, I can’t help but feel that if the film wasn’t ready to be released, it simply shouldn’t have been released. Like many, I await further details of this with interest and concern.

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