×

‘Hobbit’ tix on sale Wed. in five different versions

450 locations will screen Peter Jackson movie in 48 fps

Advanced tickets go on sale today for Peter Jackson’s first “Hobbit” installment, “An Unexpected Journey” — with major U.S. circuits offering up a not-so Hobbit-sized 450 total locations capable of screening the film’s high-frame-rate 3D version.

With the increased 48 frames-per-second 3D format, “Hobbit” auds will be able to choose from five theatrical versions when the pic bows Dec. 14. The other formats are 2D, 3D, Imax and Imax 3D.

Exhibs are selling advanced tickets for all formats simultaneously. Filmgoers will not have to pay an additional surcharge for the pic’s high frame rate version beyond the usual 3D uptick.

Warner originally planned to keep the HFR version far more limited, though the studio ultimately sided with Jackson, who advocated for a wider footprint with the format. As a result, Warners hand-picked theaters, with at least one location in all major U.S. cities.

“If this is going to be a game-changer, we needed to be responsible with the format,” Warner domestic distribution prexy Dan Fellman told Variety.

Popular on Variety

The size of the high-frame-rate rollout is an impressive achievement considering that no theaters were considered HFR-ready in April.

The difficulty of upgrading digital cinema systems so they can handle 48 fps depends on the age and type of the system.

Essentially, it becomes a hardware vs. software upgrade: Early “Series 1” d-cinema systems can’t be upgraded for high frame rates at all. Some “Series 2” auditoriums have to add an integrated media block at the projector, which is a significant hardware upgrade. More recent “Series 2” installations that already have an IMB need only a software update.

At Cinemark, the third-largest theater chain, all of the firstrun 3D locations are now HFR-capable. “The Hobbit” will occupy only some 70 of those, however. The nation’s largest circuits — Regal and AMC — have set aside more than 90 HFR-capable domestic locations for the film.

The 48 fps “Hobbit” version will be available only in 3D.

All the 3D system makers (RealD, Xpand, Dolby, MasterImage) say their systems will be ready for HFR when “The Hobbit” opens.

More Film

  • Jeremy Kleiner Dede Gardner Brad Pitt

    Brad Pitt's Production Banner Plan B Relies on Creative Diversity

    “For a long time people tried to figure out ‘What is Plan B?’” says Plan B principal Dede Gardner, who along with fellow executives Jeremy Kleiner and Brad Pitt will receive the David O. Selznick Award at the 31st annual Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 18. “I remember Brad came to us the year that [...]

  • Allison Janney and Viola Davis appear

    Film Review: 'Troop Zero'

    You’ve probably seen a version of “Troop Zero” before. Whether that version was called “Troop Beverly Hills,” “The Mighty Ducks,” or an edited-for-TV showing of “The Bad News Bears,” it’s unlikely that anything here will be particularly fresh to anyone but the youngest of viewers. But novelty does not appear to have been high on [...]

  • Cast of 'Black Panther'25th Annual Screen

    Peers Honoring Peers: What Makes SAG Awards Special

    The 26th annual SAG Awards will be held Jan. 19 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and broadcast live on both TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. EST. The SAG Awards are different from typical awards ceremonies for a number of reasons — beginning with length. The show, which comes in at two hours, [...]

  • Ted Sarandos Milestone Award PGA

    Netflix Leader Ted Sarandos Plans Broader Creative Push for the Future

    Ted Sarandos, who has helped to upend the way audiences receive and consume entertainment as Netflix’s chief content officer, will be honored with the Milestone Award at the 31st annual Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 18. Game-changers including Steven Spielberg, Sherry Lansing, Robert Iger, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Ron Meyer have previously received the recognition, and [...]

  • PGA co-presidents Gail Berman and Lucy

    Producers Guild Program Combating Sexual Harassment Kicks Into High Gear

    Producers Guild co-presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher are headed to the org’s annual awards celebration Jan. 18 with a big accomplishment under their respective belts: its anti-harassment program kicked into high gear in 2019, providing free training to 350 people in six months. The Independent Production Safety Initiative (IPSI), established in late 2018, is [...]

  • Robert De Niro SAG Lifetime Acheivement

    SAG Life Achievement Award Honoree Robert De Niro Opens Up

    Robert De Niro is a big winner. It’s the afternoon of the AFI Luncheon, honoring the best in film and television, and De Niro has just left the ceremony with three certificates. “There they are, yeah,” he gestures to a table in his hotel room at the Four Seasons when asked, as if it’s no [...]

  • Best Documentary Scenes from 2019

    Directors Describe Their Key Scenes in the Past Year’s Top Documentary Films

    The directors of this awards season’s documentary hopefuls explain the ticking hearts at the center of their shortlisted films. Apollo 11, Director: Todd Douglas Miller  Setting the Scene: The pre-launch sequence for the first mission in which humans landed on the moon, featuring NASA workers and regular citizens alike. “It encapsulates everything and highlights a lost [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content