Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” was supposed to lead the 48 fps revolution in the film industry, but now it looks like its debut will be more whimper than bang. After the film’s 48 fps footage received mixed reactions at CinemaCon, and the filmmaker took the safe route at Comic-Con by screening “The Hobbit” footage at only 24 fps, Warner Bros. has opted to give the increased frame-per-second “Hobbit” a limited release on December 14, with the standard frame rate version releasing wide.
Variety reports that a source speculates that the high-frame-rate “Hobbit” may not even hit all major cities.
The 48 fps test footage shown at CinemaCon in April had not yet received post-production smoothing, but Variety also reports that people who have seen more recent versions of the 48 fps think it looks significantly improved. But an initial reaction is just that, and WB doesn’t want to tarnish box office on a pricey film that is only the first in a confirmed trilogy.