Back in April at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Peter Jackson showed theater owners, industry executives, and film critics something that no human eyes had ever seen before — film clips shot at 48 frames-per-second. This was a monumental moment in cinema history because, since the 1930’s, the standard frame rate for all motion pictures – and what gives them that hazy “magic” quality – has been 24 frames-per-second.
The two Hobbit movies: There and Back Again, and An Unexpected Journey were both shot in 3D with new digital technology that allowed Peter Jackson to shoot at double the normal frame rate, which apparently makes the picture much crisper, clearer, and all but eliminates camera blurring during panning shots. The reaction to the Hobbit footage was wildly mixed, with many critics outright disgusted by it. To them, it stripped the magic of the motion pictures away in dramatic fashion; the end result looking and feeling like a cheap live television broadcast. Theater owners were also extremely concerned with the costs involved to upgrade their existing projectors.
Warner Bros., concerned with all this negative 48 fps buzz, has decided to hold off on a wide release for the 48fps version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in December. So, if you were looking forward to seeing the edges of Gandalf’s fake latex nose, dried glue clumps on wig hair lines, brushmarks and paint stains on the still-drying sets, or the bent blades of rubber swords, you’re shit out of luck unless you live in New York or Los Angeles. You’ll just have to settle with a plain old 24fps presentation at your local megaplex. Just send #firstworldproblem tweets and try to cope as best you can.