There is a very good
reason no studio dares open a film this weekend against "The
Hobbit"—it’s going to unleash a box office onslaught. After two
extremely sub-par weekends, moviegoers far and wide will greet Peter
Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" prequel with a level of fanfare not
seen, well, since “Breaking Dawn Part 2."
Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" won't likely match the $141M opening bite
of the final "Twilight" episode, expect Warner Bros. to capitalize on
the beloved, dormant franchise, that hasn't seen the light of day in nearly a
The top debut for the "Lord
of the Rings" franchise is $72M, which was the trilogy-caper, and best
picture winner, "Return of the King."
“The Hobbit” opens in
an ultra-wide 4,045 theaters—an estimated 3,160 in 3D, 450 in 48fps 3D, and
3,100 midnight screenings—so expect the first installment of the new trilogy to
flirt with that magical $100 million number.
The studio itself is
being cautiously optimistic, expecting it to come in under $100 million;
however that’s nothing new when it comes to insider prognostications. They do
have a right to be cautious though, as only “Harry Potter” and the “Twilight”
franchise have ever opened a film in the fall season with $100+ million.
So, why the uptick for
“The Hobbit?” Well, besides pent-up demand, it’s being offered in up to six
different formats, including, for the first time in the series, regular 3D and
48fps 3D—otherwise known as High Frame Rate (HFS)—both of which will increase ticket
prices by around $4 a pop, which is the 3D standard.
Like good ol' 24fps 3D
or IMAX, 48fps 3D is another viewing option that moviegoers will now get to
experience if they so choose. Troglodytes fear not, "The
Hobbit" will also be available in traditional 2D, so you can see the Shire
exactly how you remember it, and won't have to spend the first hour
re-calibrating your eye sockets.
So, what is this 48fps
exactly? In simple terms, films are screened at 24 frames per second (fps), but
Jackson shot "The Hobbit" in 3D at 48fps, which technically speaking,
makes the motion flow twice as smooth. That said, what you'll likely experience
at a 48fps screening isn't your brain melting, but images that come across more
like digital home video, versus the normal film speed you're used to
Peter Jackson explains
his choice: "I think 3D at 24
frames is interesting, but it’s the 48 that actually allows 3D to almost
achieve the potential that it can achieve because it’s less eye strain and you
have a sharper picture which creates more of the 3-dimensional world."
(Dec 14, 2012) - Comments (31)