“Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” may have been a box office bomb and a noble failure in experimenting with shooting at 120 frames per second, but that isn’t stopping Paramount Pictures from giving director Ang Lee a second chance at using the risky format. As IndieWire reported back in April 2018, Lee’s upcoming science-fiction thriller “Gemini Man” will be shot in 3D at 120 frames per second and 4k resolution. “Billy Lynn” was the first film ever shot at 120fps, following Peter Jackson’s 40fps experiment on “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” The filmmaking standard is 24fps.
As reported by The Playlist, Paramount has sent out a letter to theater chain exhibitors ahead of CinemaCon asking them to test their equipment to see if they will be able to screen “Gemini Man” in its intended 120fps/4k/3D format. The letter provides specific instructions on how to conduct a High Frame Rate test and calls 120fps/4k/3D the “most pristine and immersive format” for showing the film. The movie will also be available to screen in 60fps.
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“We want to do everything possible to make projecting the high frame rate version of ‘Gemini Man’ a turnkey experience for you and provide audiences with the latest technological advancement in cinema,” the letter reads.
“Gemini Man” stars Will Smith as an aging assassin who must avoid being killed by a younger clone of himself. The supporting cast includes Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Benedict Wong. Smith is playing both the assassin and the young clone. The film’s VFX supervisor Bill Westenhofer (“Life of Pi”) previously told IndieWire that motion capture technology was used for Smith to play his younger self.
“The clone is present for 400-plus scenes in over half the movie, delivering full ‘in your face’ emotional performances,” Westenhofer said. “Our full methodology involves a combination of scenes where Will plays his younger self wearing appropriate costumes for his body and a motion capture head rig.”
The response to the use of 120fps in “Billy Lynn” was hardly anything to rave about, with many critics criticizing the “video game” look of the ultra high definition visuals. IndieWire’s Eric Kohn said the movie did not make a good case for the use of 120fps, writing the technology produced “hyperreal images out of whack with the routine events that dominate the screen.” Despite many people’s reservations to 120fps, Paramount is clearly moving full steam ahead for “Gemini Man.”
Paramount is set to release “Gemini Man” in theaters nationwide October 4. The studio declined IndieWire’s request for comment. Expect Paramount to have a lot more to say on the matter at CinemaCon in April.