Cats: Universal sending new version to cinemas 'at Tom Hooper's insistence' amid fear of massive flop

Distributor is insisting that the current copy of the film be replaced as soon as possible

Jacob Stolworthy
Sunday 22 December 2019 10:34
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Cats' director Tom Hooper reveals he finished the film the morning before the screening

Universal is frantically trying to improve Cats after an onslaught of negative reviews and poor box office sales.

A day after Tom Hooper’s big-budget musical was released, the distributor reportedly alerted thousands of cinemas that it would be sending an updated version of the panned film with “some improved visual effects”, including the covering up of Judi Dench's human hand.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the decision – unheard of for a film of this size – was made by Hooper, who won an Oscar for The King’s Speech in 2010.

Hooper himself admitted the film was completed one day before the film premiered in New York on 16 December.

Following its mauling by critics, which included a zero-star review, the film failed to fare much better at the box office, grossing just $2.6m (£1.9m) on its opening day.

The film is projected to have cost between $85-100m​ (£65m-77m).

Any hope that cinemagoers would enjoy the film more than those who reviewed it were dashed after it received a C+ rating from CinemaScore, a market research firm that assesses audience response.

No additional scenes are expected to be added to the updated copy, which will instead focus on tweaking the CGI human-cat hybrids featured in the film.

Cinemas with the ability to download will begin showing the improved version from Sunday (22 December), but other exhibitors will have to wait until Tuesday (24 December).

Going by the letter obtained by THR, though, Universal is insisting that cinema employees replace the current print of Cats as soon as they possibly can.

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The film stars Jennifer Hudson, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift. Find a ranking of the film’s performances – from least to most embarrassing – here.

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