"Cats" gets updated with improved visuals amid growing criticism

The box office is having a rough few days. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may be selling well as expected but reception has been pretty mixed. Even before that, however, the acclaimed yet divisive Broadway musical "Cats" leaped into the big screen but seems to have failed to land on its feet. Now it seems that everyone involved is doing all that it takes to salvage the film's reputation, including a notice from Universal Pictures that it's updating the movie right on opening day.

Depending on who you ask, Cats is either one of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's amazing works or his worst. And while its cast of singers and dancers in tight suits and face paint might be common fare on stage, it didn't successfully carry over to film format, with or even because of CGI. And that's with a star-studded roster of Award winners.

As if to add to Cats the Movie's growing list of oddities, Universal sent out a notice to theaters that it will be distributing an updated version of the film, citing improved visual effects as the reason for the unusual move. It is almost taboo to update a film on opening day or even after and director Tom Hoopers is being pointed to as the cause of the update.

The director has been frank about running out of time to finish the CGI for Cats, perhaps as an attempt to explain one of the most glaring flaws pointed out by critics. It is also the only aspect of the film that can be changed anyway that won't drastically affect the substance. And that may have no salvation at all.

Universal assures exhibitors that the visual updates won't change the running time and that it will be available for download through satellite servers. Exhibitors without access to that will have to make do with hard drives to be sent to them this coming Tuesday. Whether those changes will be enough to make critics sit through almost two hours of Cats yet again is possible yet unlikely.