The Hobbit is by far my favorite of the Tolkien books, and my only sticking point in seeing the movie (beyond general hobbit-fatigue) is that it’s going to be split into two movies, with the first part reportedly being two and a half hours long. Five hours for The Hobbit seems… long. Director Peter Jackson recently screened footage at Comic-Con, where he was asked if he was planning to split The Hobbit further, into three movies– wait, WHAT?! Jesus, why would you ask that?!?
“That’s a discussion we’re having, yeah,” Jackson said. “We have certainly been talking to the studio about some of the material we can’t film, and we’ve been asking them so we can do a bit more filming next year. Which, I don’t know what would come of that, whether it’d be extended editions or whatnot. But those discussions are ongoing.
“I’d like to shoot a bunch more material that we [couldn't] shoot. There’s so much good stuff in the appendices that we haven’t been able to squeeze into these movies,” Jackson said, referring to the appendix sections found at the end of “The Return of the King” detailing more background on Middle Earth and its history. [Hitfix (with video)]
Oh sure, the appendices, there’s great stuff in there. And hey, what about the dust jacket copy? That’s gotta be worth two more films, easy. Look, I know there isn’t much to do in New Zealand, but Jesus, man, learn to edit. Warner Bros, for their part, deny that there’s any talk of turning it into a trilogy. Thank God.
Meanwhile, in frame-rate news, Roger Ebert wonders aloud (read, yes, this is still just speculation), whether The Hobbit‘s 48 fps frame rate will lead theaters to charge a surcharge for it.
The standard frame rate, for both digital and celluloid, is 24 fps. However, Stuart Kemp writes in the Hollywood Reporter: “There are nearly 4,000 screens in North America that have Barco Series 2 projectors with the required software update to play 48 fps, plus Sony expects the majority of its 13,000 installed 4K digital cinema projectors to support the high frame rates by the time ‘The Hobbit’ is released in December.”
So that’s good, right? Of course there is a catch: “…but exhibitors must pay the cost of the additional equipment, and some have wondered how much of a ticket premium they would charge to offset that cost.” So we are faced with yet another way to add a surcharge to the basic cost of a movie ticket. But wait. Work through the math with me.
About 17,000 theaters currently using Barco Series 2 or Sony 4K digital projectors can already show “The Hobbit” at 48fps. The equipment is in place and paid for. There are about 39,000 screens in North America, which indicates that about half of them can currently handle “The Hobbit.” The possibility of Jackson’s film requiring more screens than that seems remote–especially given the traditional flood of major holiday releases. [Sun-Times]
Not to be outdone, James Cameron recently announced that Avatar 2 and 3 will be shot at 60 frames per second. As to whether theaters will actually be able to screen them at 60 fps, Cameron says he’ll be able to make up the difference using a cold fusion device that he borrowed from benevolent alien lifeforms he came into contact with during one of his trips to the bottom of the ocean inside a one-man submarine he invented. “‘Kreego-Maktolo,’ they call me,” Cameron said, “which means ‘man who rides prostitutes’ in their language.”