Despite how excited Peter Jackson is about the fact he’s shooting “The Hobbit” in 48 frames per second, critics were less than enthused by the presentation of the movie at CinemaCon last week. Responses were mixed, but many said that the footage looked too real and didn’t have any of the cinematic qualities that made “The Lord of the Rings” a wonder to watch.
But Jackson isn’t throwing in the towel because of that. He said that viewers didn’t have enough time to judge the format from the 10 minutes of footage screened at the presentation. Since he’s been working with the film style for so long, he said that watching 48 fps just takes some getting used to.
“Ten minutes is sort of marginal, it probably needed a little bit more,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “Another thing that I think is a factor is it’s different to look at a bunch of clips and some were fast-cutting, montage-style clips. This is different experience than watching a character and story unfold.”
Saying “you get used to it reasonably quickly,” Jackson felt that some skeptics had already become used to the new format by the time the 10 minutes had finished running. In fact, some people told him that they liked the latter scenes better even though they were running at the same frame rate as the earlier one.
“We have obviously seen cuts of our movie at 48 and in a relatively short amount of time you have forgotten (the frame rate change). It is a more immersive and in 3D a gentler way to see the film,” he said, adding that when he sees 24 fps footage now, “I’m very aware of the strobing, the flicker and the artifacts.”
There was a backlash from some smaller cinema owners, who complained off the record to Entertainment Weekly that implementing the new film technology is going to be very pricy. However, the folks behind Regal Cinemas seem willing to give it a shot.
“At end of the day, we have to do everything we can to widen that experience gap between what you see in the theater and what you see in the home,” Regal Entertainment Group CEO Amy Miles told EW. “Bringing the option to our customer is what we’re doing. Ultimately, let’s be clear, that’s who decides what’s going to be successful going forward.”