This time a year ago, ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ opened amid a firestorm of debate – not just about its content and quality (which divided many viewers), but about the High Frame Rate 48 fps photographic format that Peter Jackson chose to shoot it in. This week’s release of ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ (ugh, that title…) will likewise be screened in a variety of projection formats – from 2D to 3D, and from standard speed to HFR. Knowing what you do about how the first one turned out, in which theatrical format will you choose to watch the sequel? Or will you not bother to see this one at all?
Despite a significant negative reaction from many viewers and critics, Peter Jackson is still bullish on the 48 fps technology. In fact, Warner Bros. has doubled the number of theaters equipped to project the sequel in HFR. However, the studio is greatly downplaying the frame rate conversation, and won’t screen the movie for critics in HFR at all.
I never saw ‘An Unexpected Journey’ in theaters in any format. I told myself that I’d wait for Blu-ray, but didn’t buy the disc either. Instead, I saw about ten minutes of the movie on HBO – a scene in which an elderly wizard with bird poop in his beard raced a sled pulled by bunnies through the bramble of a forest at top speeds – and decided that was all I needed to see. Frankly, I have more than a few issues with Jackson’s first ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, and this was just too much to bear.
As such, I won’t pay to see the sequel at all. Nevertheless, I remain interested in what our readers make of this 48 fps thing.
Because the studio is being evasive with providing the details, finding a definitive list of theaters that will screen the movie in 48 fps is difficult. This site has attempted to compile a list as best as it’s able.
The HFR format is only available with 3D screenings, not with 2D. As far as I can tell, all IMAX showings of the movie (whether 24 fps or 48 fps) will be in 3D.