Cats is now out on digital.
Cats is now out on digital.
Photo: Universal Pictures

If you woke up this morning mighty confused as to why the hashtag “ReleaseTheButtholeCut” was trending on social media, you were not alone. The whole thing was a little dark and messy.

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Sorry, we had to.

Tuesday marked the digital release of Tom Hooper’s Cats and the timing probably couldn’t have been better, what with the majority of the world self-isolating (hopefully) in their houses. One particularly famous person who decided to watch the now-infamous film was Seth Rogen, who live-tweeted the experience. Along the way, tons of people joined in and joked around which eventually resulted in this tweet.

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With that tweet, the world shifted. Time stopped. And “ReleaseTheButtholeCut” was born.

Not only did Rogen fully endorse the movement, but he was also joined by filmmakers like Rian Johnson, Mike Flanagan, and others. It was a fun 12 hours or so—but, alas, it all came to an end Wednesday afternoon. That’s when writer-director Ben Mekler weighed in with an important update.

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Here’s what it says, if you can’t view the text. This from “a Cats VFX crewmember who has asked to remain anonymous”

There were never shots of cats with butt holes. Or at least by design. None that I saw anyway. However, there were a dozen or so shot where the skin and fur sim was groomed or just folded in a way that really REALLY looked like very furry lady genitals and buttholes by accident. The task (as typical with heavy cg shows fell on 2D to paint out the offending articles where it was brought up and spotted. Daily reviews were constant awkward discussions of people plucking up the courage to point things like this out: ‘does that [look] like a fanny to you?’

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And there you have it. (Understandably skeptical, we reached out to Mekler to confirm all this; he assured us it is real.) No, there’s no “butthole” cut of Cats. Some of the early CGI just kinda looked like buttholes, which was subsequently fixed. For a film that literally had a new version of it sent to theaters during release because the CGI wasn’t done in time, this all makes a lot of sense.

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

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