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Ian McKellen in Cats

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may be dominating the bulk of movie conversations at the moment, but there is another movie in theaters that has people talking: Cats. The star-studded adaption of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical has been a major topic of discussion on the internet since the first trailers debuted. Now, after screening for critics and officially opening in theaters on December 20, Cats has apparently just updated its VFX again.

This is according to a user on Twitter named Mike Blacklist who, responding to a tweet about Cats from Birth.Movies.Death.’s Scott Wampler, said that theaters have been notified that updated versions of the movie are on the way. He took a screenshot of an apparent note to theaters about the Cats update. It reads:

Hello - please share the following with your theater operations staff and managers:

DCDC and Deluxe- Technicolor will be sending updated FTR-20 SMPTE DCPs of Cats which include some improved visual effects. The runtime is unchanged.

While this involves some technical terms the layman won’t be familiar with, the gist is this: The Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) will be sending out updated versions of the Digital Cinema Package (the digital equivalent of a 35mm film print of a film that modern digital theaters receive) for Cats. Apparently, these updated versions of Cats theaters will be receiving contain some improved VFX.

This basically means that the version of Cats that screened for and was excoriated by critics earlier this week, was not technically the final version of the film. The visual effects for the potentially wildly expensive film were not only being worked on up until the last minute, they were seemingly still being finished beyond that.

Naturally this news made for hilarious discussion on social media, with some noting how a feature film has now received a patch, much like computer software or a videogame. Speaking about the possibly futile attempt to fix Cats, one particularly clever commenter said, “Well, not ‘fixed’ so much as ‘spayed.'" Bravo.

This update comes after the film screened for critics, to less than purrfect reviews. It turns out that the viral reactions to the trailers were just a sample of what critics had in store for this film when it actually released. Reviewers got to flex their creative writing muscles in describing how horrific, amazingly terrible and indescribable Tom Hooper’s film is. It seems that the majority of the reactions range from pure unadulterated hate to a movie you love to hate.

I don’t imagine this update was done to improve the film’s critical reception so much as it was just to push out the complete and finished film. But as to whether updated VFX would do anything whatsoever to improve the film’s critical reception, it seems highly unlikely.

You feel bad that something people worked hard on for obviously long hours, and that so many fans are passionate about, gets lambasted the way Cats has, but there’s a reason this was a musical first and not a movie. Changing how good the fur looks won’t change perception. The horror isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.

Nevertheless, as CinemaBlend’s own Braden Roberts explained, it might be horrific and terrible, but it is a cinematic experience worth seeing. And if you do see it, you’ll apparently have the benefit of updated VFX.

Cats is now playing. Once you’ve seen it and recovered, take a look at our breakdown of the ending and check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what movies you can look forward to next year.

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