It became official during the past 24 hours that Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit", at 48fps, will be released to a smaller audience than expected. The announcement confirms a widely-discussed scenario that materialized after a less-than-lukewarm reaction to the film's 48fps version.
The release will be small enough that some major U.S. cities may have to do without the higher version, according to Variety. That's kind of a bummer considering the hoopla surrounding the project, which has included Jackson's defending of his project as far back as April 2011 with a full explanation on Facebook. (I encourage you to sift through the comments following Jackson's note... pretty interesting stuff back-and-forth.)
"Film purists will criticize the lack of blur and strobing artifacts, but all of our crew — many of whom are film purists — are now converts," Jackson wrote. "You get used to this new look very quickly and it becomes a much more lifelike and comfortable viewing experience."
While some got comfortable, others have had a harder time, leaving open the debate of whether the initial backlash is a case of growing pains or it points to something more; i.e, it may have an effect directly opposite the desired one, which is to enhance the viewing experience.
In other words, while it might be improved technically, if audiences don't adapt to and like the feel, what is it worth? Needless to say, though the sample size will be limited, opinions from those who do take in "The Hobbit" at 48fps will be heavily scrutinized.
Past that, what about the technology as a whole?
What if feedback suggests that most people, apart from keen-eyed professionals, never really had an issue with, and prefer, 24fps? How would that affect production creativity and future products? Or, will the feedback have an effect at all?
Experts, your thoughts?