Peter Jackson‘s upcoming “here we go again” epic The Hobbit is one of the most anticipated films of 2012. But despite the movie’s proven track record of Peter Jackson directing short people in funny costumes running around, Jackson and company have managed to muster up some controversy to go along with the movie – and it all has to do with frame rates.
It’s a bit technical, but here’s the gist: The traditional frame rate (“the number of images displayed by a projector within one second”) for film projection in the United States is 24 frames per second. But big 3D-enthused filmmakers like Jackson and James Cameron are trying to get higher frame rates off the ground with the reasoning that they’re better for 3D – with many viewers saying that it makes Middle Earth look fake and artificial. Jackson shot The Hobbit in 48 fps, and he wants as many movie theaters as possible to show it in that new format.
But whatever your opinion on frame rates – there’s a solid bottom line here: In order for theaters to show movies like The Hobbit in the new frame rate, they have to equip their digital projectors with new software, which requires time and money. So to show The Hobbit in full-on Hobbit-vision is going to cost theaters more than showing a normal movie.
No one knows exactly how the exhibitors will defray this cost, but you can bet at least part of it will end up as a ticket price increase. So at this point, it’s basically up to the audience – if they’re willing to pay for higher frame rates, this could really take off. If not, it could be the next Smell-O-Vision. (The Hollywood Reporter)