Not making that Comic-Con leap of faith was enough to raise concerns, and any worries have been solidified by Variety. All of Peter Jackson‘s kowtowing to the format now being something of a big exception, they tell us Warner Bros. have decided to give The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey‘s 48fps presentation — are you ready? you may not be — a limited run. So limited, actually, that it might “not even [go] into all major cities.”
Ouch. For one of 2012’s biggest films, in its director’s preferred format, to get “downgraded” like that? Ouch.
And it’s not as if Warner Bros. are disowning the format, much less halting their future plans. This is, evidently, a method being taken in order to “protect the format”; putting it into this sort of release — one that only attracts the curious filmgoer — will allow for what Variety summarizes as market testing. You could read easily that as, “If the reactions are bad, they’re not widespread.”
If they’re positive, though — how they even gauge that is unclear — the second and third (man, I hate even having to type that) installments are expected to get 48fps openings in a normal capacity. (While nobody has the technology for this presentation just yet, it may only take “a software upgrade that will be ready in September.” Don’t be worried about that.) It’s also more work for Jackson, seeing as he’ll have to add (add!) motion blur to the final film. Given how incensed he must be at this development, though, that’s probably a little bit down there on his list of primary concerns.
Being someone who wanted to check out a 48fps version of The Hobbit at some point or another, the news is a little disconcerting — but it’s primarily distressing because any intelligent person, no matter how much spin they read, can’t take this as anything even approaching a good sign. Will Jackson‘s experimentation and grand promises be nothing more than a special option for people in New York and Los Angeles? Sure as I am that The Hobbit will be great, it would appear as though its creator took a misstep on the road back to Middle-earth.
What are your thoughts on this sudden shift? Were you planning on seeing The Hobbit in 48fps? Do you still?
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