Last weekend, Universal Studios unleashed Cats on the big screen. The film – which features an all-star cast – is an adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name.
Have you seen the film yet? Well, if you’ve not seen the movie then you may have at least caught a review… which suggests that Cats is bad.
The film has been panned by most critics and is reportedly set to be one of the most disappointing movie-going experiences of 2019. In his review of Cats, Empire‘s John Nugent, said: “Cats is an insane musical experiment gone wrong. It is truly like nothing cinema has ever seen. The question is, is it something cinema actually wanted?”
But its not just poor reviews, Cats has also had a disastrous opening weekend, taking less than $11 million worldwide, from an eye-watering budget of $95 million. This is a very, very bad start for a film with such a large budget.
So, Universal is going to forget about Cats, write it off as a bad idea, and move on to bigger things, right?
Due to the overwhelming negativity towards the film, which is partially directed at the visual effects, Universal Studios has made the unprecedented move to… re-issue the film with new visuals.
Mere days after it opened in cinemas, Cats version 2.0 is being delivered to theatres worldwide RIGHT NOW. This copy of the film will replace the copy that has already been viewed by critics (and some audiences) as the new edition of the movie.
This updated version of the movie has the exact same run time, the same characters, and the same story, it just won’t look exactly the same as it did last Friday. The visuals have been tweaked, so not to…
So, why are the visuals being tweaked? Because the effects simply weren’t ready by the time Cats was due in cinemas – or so we are being led to believe.
Speaking via The Guardian, Phil Clapp, Chief Executive of the UK Cinema Association, said:
“The resupply, I think, reflects the complexity of the CGI going into the film and the fact that in the end production went right down to the wire.”
He added: “With the luxury of a little more time, the production team have had the opportunity to further finesse some of the visual effects.”
Just to make things clear, this type of situation simply never happens with movies. Once a film is handed over to cinema chains, the film that plays in theatres is the only version of the movie that is screened, for better or worse – it does not get a do-over.
Of course, re-issues do happen, and these re-issues can include changes to the original version of the movie (such as a black and white edition or an extended cut), but this never happens within three days of the film opening. Universal’s decision to re-issue Cats is clearly a bold move, but one that shows this is a very troubled picture!
Will the tweaked re-issue pay off? Only time will tell.
In all honesty, I’m more intrigued about this film now than I have been at any point since it was initially announced, so maybe Universal is on to something here. However, I would much prefer to see that initial version than a tweaked edition, so if I see this film (and it’s looking likely) I’m still expecting to be disappointed.
As for what this means for the future of cinema, well, Universal has opened the door to do-overs, so who knows where this will lead. Perhaps more studios will now update their films if they discover they have a bomb on their hands during opening weekend.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.