Picture this: A happy family sits down in front of their television looking for some family-friendly content. They decide on Tom & Jerry, the latest feature film adaptation of the beloved cartoon cat-and-mouse team, currently streaming on HBO Max. But when they hit play, what they get instead is a four hour, desaturated, ponderous, severe, and very R-rated deconstruction of all things superheroes. And it doesn’t even fit the dang screen!
Yes, this actually happened to some people — when clicking on Tom & Jerry, viewers instead got at least an hour of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, aka The Snyder Cut, one of the most anticipated and controversial titles coming out this year. How did this strange glitch from goofy cartoon to serious superhero epic happen?
The Hollywood Reporter reports that a Twitter user by the name of Doug Bass first noticed this strange mistake, saying, “I just wanted to put on Tom & Jerry for background noise while I worked, and instead I watched an hour of an amazing movie.” Bass only received one hour of the film before his access to it was cut off abruptly; the next time he played Tom & Jerry, he got, well, Tom & Jerry. But it’s not just happening to Bass; other Twitter users have begun posting what happens when they stream Tom & Jerry and get the Snyder Cut instead (check out an image here, though there are obviously light spoilers).
No statement has been given by HBO Max or Warner Bros. yet, and this is likely nothing more than an innocent mistake. Perhaps a programmer accidentally subbed in the asset for Justice League instead of Tom & Jerry in HBO Max‘s primary featured slot early, before the thumbnail and metadata for Tom & Jerry had a chance to be released (it’s telling that in some viewer accounts, pressing pause on this Snyder Cut leak reveals the information for Tom & Jerry onscreen). Or perhaps this is an elaborate piece of boundary-breaking guerilla marketing to get the Snyder Cut fans even more excited. After all, everything else about the Snyder Cut’s journey to public viewing has been nontraditional — why not interrupt a nice story about a cartoon cat and mouse, too?
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is scheduled for a March 18 release on HBO Max (though I guess you could try clicking more random programming and seeing if you get anymore early).