Remember how Peter Jackson was filming both Hobbit movies — all three of ’em now, I guess — in a twice-normal-rate 48 frames per second? And that when the footage was shown at Cinemacon, it looked like shit? Well, there’s good news and bad news about this footage; I’ll let Variety deliver both. First the good:
People who have seen much of the film in 48 frames-per-second 3D tell Variety the picture now looks vastly better than the test footage shown this April at CinemaCon, which had not yet undergone post-production polishing and got a mixed reception from exhibitors.
And now the bad:
According to source familiar with Warner’s release plans for Peter Jackson’s first “Hobbit,” the HFR version will go out to only select locations, perhaps not even into all major cities. … But the studio still wants to protect the format by going into a limited release for the HFR version, hoping to test the marketplace and expand the HFR release for the second and third installments — provided auds are enthusiastic.
So the footage no longer looks like shit… but you probably won’t be able to see it anyways. Variety is quick to point out that Warner Bros.’ decision to limit the release isn’t (just) a vote of no confidence; very few theaters are equipped to run a 48fps movie. So if it does well, we’ll probably get The Hobbit 2: Electric Boogaloo and The Hobbit 3: The Legend of Curly’s Gold in 48fps, and I bet WB will re-release The Hobbit: First Blood in 48fps before one or both sequels. So maybe you’ll get to see it eventually. But unless you live in NY or LA, you’re not likely to get a chance this Christmas.