At CinemaCon earlier this year, one of the biggest results to stem from the event happened to be the “innovation” of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey being shot in the incredibly fast 48 frames per second. Combined with 3D, many complained that what they saw on-screen only seems like actors on a stage rather than the audience being immersed in a fantasy world they’ve come to know and love. Since then the effects even reached Comic-Con last month as the footage shown was in the regular 24 FPS, with director Peter Jackson revealing 2D showings will retain the typical style while 3D screenings will bump up to 48 FPS.
However, it seems Warner Brothers is still very much worried about the upgrade and with 3D having a significant price jump compared to regular screenings they want to make sure not to alienate potential box office increases. Now, it seems if you want to see the new technology at its finest, you’ll have to start searching pretty hard.
Variety reports that Warner Brothers has decided to place the 48 FPS version of The Hobbit‘s 3D release only in limited markets, with the version possibly not even hitting all major cities. The reason is because with the format being brand-new, they want to test out the screenings in order to perfect the method before they venture forth in the other two films of The Hobbit Trilogy.
What was shown at CinemaCon was always professed to be simply a rough version of the tech, but original reports still made many skeptical about the possible endeavor. Sources tell Variety that the 48 FPS version has now been polished thanks to post-production and greatly improved over the CinemaCon version, though it seems “better” is not good-enough for the time being.
One other major issue that WB was likely to hit as well is getting theaters’ technology upgraded in time for the December wide release. The 48 FPS requires only a software upgrade, which will start rolling out in September, for some projectors but its unclear just what kind of complications other cinemas may find themselves running into should it be a larger issue. A limited release will ensure that theaters can have plenty of time to get ready for next December’s wide 48 FPS for the second Hobbit, while also testing out some kinks should any problems arise.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theaters on December 14th, 2013.