Over the last few years, 3D technology and digital projection has made its way to just about every theater in America. The “new” 3D began as revolutionary technology worthy of shelling out the extra surcharge dollars. Over the last couple of years however, paying the extra few dollars has turned into a common annoyance as ticket prices continue to rise. Going to the nearest multiplex has gone from leisure into an expensive venture. The most upsetting aspect is that because of the rising ticket prices, theater chains are threatened with a decline in attendance. As 3D technology is being implemented into homes with 3D televisions and Blu-ray players, moviegoers may find no need to go to the theater when they can watch a movie with 3D capabilities in the comfort of their own home. The fact of the matter is that there needs to be a theatrical experience that cannot be duplicated. Lucky for us, there is a new technology that promises just that.
This December, when Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey finally makes its way to theaters, the film is going to be the first to project at 48 fps (frames per second). The higher frame rate enhances the clarity of the images that are projected to make the images on the screen appear more immersive. The fortunate news is that you don’t have to pay extra to experience the higher frame rate. Yes, you read that correctly. According to The new frame rate, even when projected in 3D, will not charge an extra cent. The unfortunate news is that the first part of the planned Hobbit trilogy will be mostly projected in 2D and 3D at the regular 24 fps (frames per second) in most theaters. Only a limited amount of theaters will have showings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey projected at the higher frame rate.
Why such a limited number of theaters, you ask? To Warner Bros. Studio, it’s a risk factor. Earlier this year, Peter Jackson premiered early footage of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in the higher frame rate at WonderCon. It didn’t receive quite the reaction that Peter Jackson and the studio were hoping for. It’s because of this reaction that has Warner Bros. limiting the number of theaters that will show The Hobbit in the higher frame rate. What made the audience react negatively to the footage? Maybe we are so accustomed to the normal frame rate that anything that seems off will make us turn our heads. If the film would be been released strictly at 48 fps, proved to be a turn off for moviegoers, the film could potentially lose out on box office earnings. In a few short months, we will soon find out if moviegoers accept the technology as revolutionary.
The Hobbit: Unexpected Journey is coming to theaters on December 14th, 2012. The sequel, The Hobbit: There and Back Again, has set a release date of December 13th, 2013. The currently untitled third film in the planned trilogy is going to be released in the summer of 2014.