Warner Bros. is feeling a bit queasy over reports of nausea and dizzyness at high-frame-rate screenings of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
Studio, which opens Peter Jackson’s movie on Dec. 14, issued a statement in reaction to a report in the United Kingdom’s The Sunday Times in which one anonymous viewer complained of a migraine headache after viewing the film at the New Zealand premiere at 48 frames per second — twice the usual rate. Another compared the movie experience close to a rollercoaster ride.
Though the virtual camera moves have been described as vertiginous at times, there’s no physiological reason that a higher frame rate should make anyone feel sick.
“We have been screening the full-length HFR 3D presentation of ‘The Hobbit: An Unexepected Journey’ extensively and feedback has been extremely positive, with none of thousands who have seen the film projected in this format expressing any of the issues described by two anonymous sources in media reports,” Warner Bros. said. “We share the filmmakers’ belief that by offering filmgoers the additional choice of HFR 3D, alongside traditional viewing formats, they have an opportunity to be part of a groundbreaking advancement in the moviegoing experience and we look forward to having audiences everywhere share in this new way of storytelling.”
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Warner Bros. decided in August that for Jackson’s first “Hobbit,” the HFR version will go out to only select locations. Test footage was shown this April at CinemaCon, which had not yet undergone post-production polishing and got a mixed reception from exhibitors.