Warner Bros Says It Limited ‘The Hobbit’ High Frame Rate Screens To “Do It Right”

By | Thursday November 15, 2012 @ 11:41am PST

Only about 4.5% of the 10,000 or so domestic screens that will show New Line and MGM’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on December 14 will present it the way director Peter Jackson wants — at 48 frames per second instead of the conventional 24 frames. But Warner Bros Domestic Distribution President Dan Fellman tells me that this reflects a cautious rollout strategy, not a failure to win support from exhibition execs. Even now, “equipment is being tested” and some glitches have been corrected, he says. “So we did the right thing” by limiting the rollout to anywhere from 400 to 450 screens covering most major cities. “This is a technology that is going to change the way people see movies…You have to do it right.”

Warner Bros seemed to have bigger ambitions for the visually vivid 3D projection technology — which the studio’s calling “HFR” (for High Frame Rate) — at the exhibition industry’s CinemaCon trade confab in April. That effort hit a huge PR speed bump when several viewers said that they were unmoved by a 10-minute excerpt of the film in 48 fps. Carmike Cinemas’ Terrel Mayton said at the time that HFR “has to be a kick-the-picture-out (advancement) or it just becomes one of a long line of technology advances that’s here for a while and then move into oblivion.” Theater owners have to pay about $5,000 for a projector to handle HFR — first-generation digital ones can’t be upgraded. More recent projectors only require a software upgrade which can run $1,500. It can cost as much as $20,000 to make the change at an IMAX venue. Theaters also have to shell out more to store HFR prints than they do for conventional 24 fps digital films. Read More »

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‘The Hobbit’ Advance Tickets Go On Sale Wednesday At Noon ET; ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Marathon Screenings Go On Sale, Too

By | Saturday November 3, 2012 @ 7:40pm PDT

BREAKING… Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy adventure The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey doesn’t open in North American movie theaters until December 14th. But I’ve learned that tickets are going on sale more than a month in advance. The date is this Wednesday, November 7th, online and in theaters across North America at 12:00 PM Eastern Time. ”We’re expecting a big result as we start the journey for all 3 films,” a Warner Bros exec tells me. To ‘event-ize’ the release, moviegoers will be able to return to Middle-earth at marathon screenings of Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy in Extended Cut editions on Saturday, December 8th, and Sunday December 9th. Tickets for these all-day events also will go on sale online and in theaters throughout the U.S. at Noon ET on Wednesday November 7th.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be followed by the second film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug releasing December 13, 2013, and the third film, The Hobbit: There and Back Again slated for July 18, 2014. All 3 films are productions of New Line Cinema and MGM Pictures, with New Line managing production and Warner Bros Pictures handling worldwide theatrical distribution. Select international territories as well as all international television distribution is being handled by MGM. Under Jackson’s direction, The Hobbit Trilogy has been shot in 3D 48 frames-per-second and will be released in High Frame Rate 3D (HFR 3D), other 3D formats, IMAX and 2D. These adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novels tell the continuous story set in Middle-earth 60 years before The Lord Of The Rings, which Jackson and his filmmaking team brought to the big screen and won the Best Picture Oscar for The Return of the King.

Several of the characters return Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘West Of Memphis’

By | Friday November 2, 2012 @ 2:51pm PDT

The Amy Berg-directed documentary West Of Memphis — about the now-famous trial, conviction and eventual release of the West Memphis 3 — is largely based on private investigators and forensic testing financed by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. The pair produced the docu with West Memphis 3 … Read More »

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Air New Zealand Gets In ‘Hobbit’ Spirit: Video

By | Wednesday October 31, 2012 @ 8:42am PDT

To say the Kiwis are all-in over native son Peter Jackson‘s locally shot The Hobbit trilogy is putting it lightly. Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city, is calling itself The Middle Of Middle-earth, and there’s a giant clock atop the … Read More »

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‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’s Royal Screening Will Benefit UK Industry Charity

Just ahead of its official bow, Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will screen for Britain’s royal family as the 65th Royal Film Performance. The event will take place December 12 and benefits the Cinema and … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’

By | Wednesday September 19, 2012 @ 7:00am PDT

The latest tease for Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey dropped this morning. The merry dwarves are back along with menacing monsters and fresh footage since the first trailer from last December. This one also has extra Gollum. This will be the first picture in … Read More »

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‘The Hobbit 3′ Scheduled For July 18, 2014

Warner Bros and MGM Pictures jointly announced today that the final film in Peter Jackson’s trilogy adaptation of the JRR Tolkien novel is now titled The Hobbit: There and Back Again. It will be released worldwide on July 18, 2014. … Read More »

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Toronto: ‘West Of Memphis’ Gets Fest Preem; Johnny Depp And Natalie Maines To Join Filmmakers

Mike Fleming

RELATED: 2012 Sundance: Q&A With ‘West Of Memphis’ Producers Peter Jackson And Fran Walsh

BREAKING: West of Memphis, the Amy Berg-directed documentary that was one of the Read More »

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Peter Jackson Confirms ‘The Hobbit’ Will Be Three Films

By | Monday July 30, 2012 @ 8:35am PDT
Mike Fleming

Hobbit Trilogy Peter JacksonBREAKING: Peter Jackson has just confirmed he will split The Hobbit into three films, the third of which will be released sometime in summer 2014. Jackson dropped hints about this at Comic-Con, explaining he had … Read More »

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‘The Hobbit’ Going For A Trilogy? Say It Isn’t So!

By | Tuesday July 24, 2012 @ 6:35pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Peter Jackson first mentioned at Comic-Con two weeks ago that he was toying with what to do with all the extra footage he has shot for a two film adaptation of The Hobbit. Now, reports are hot and heavy that he’s actually going to turn his two films into a trilogy. When I spoke with Peter Jackson about The Hobbit in San Diego, he was very excited about the 125 pages of notes in an appendices that JRR Tolkien wrote and included in the final The Lord of the Rings novel Return of the King. I’m told now that the possibility is perhaps better than it was then that this might happen, but that it is by no means a certainty. There are internal discussions, and I have to say, they make me wince. There wasn’t a wasted second in LOTR, with the films building to a satisfying, nearly $1.2 billion worldwide gross and Oscar-winning conclusion. I read The Hobbit numerous times and I don’t think that Bilbo Baggins has three films in him.

Jackson told me that the notes written by Tolkien presaged his intention to update The Hobbit and give it more of the weight of Lord Of The Rings. Here’s what he said:

“That goes back to JRR Tolkien writing The Hobbit first, for children, and only after did he develop his mythology much more over the 16 or 17 years later when The Lord of the Rings came out, which is way more epic and mythic and serious. What people have to realize is we’ve adapted The Hobbit, plus taken this additional 125 pages of notes, that’s what you’d call them. Because Tolkien himself was planning the rewrite The Hobbit after The Lord of the Rings, to make it speak to the story of The Lord of the Rings much more. In the novel, Gandalf disappears for various patches of time. Read More »

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Comic-Con Q&A: Peter Jackson On His Return To Middle Earth With ‘The Hobbit’ And How 48 Frames Can Save Moviegoing

By | Sunday July 15, 2012 @ 12:45pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Peter Jackson wowed the Comic-Con crowd Saturday in Hall H by showing footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first of a two-parter on the Bilbo Baggins’ journey that leaves on his finger Sauron’s Ring Of Power, the precursor to Jackson’s billion dollar grossing The Lord of the Rings trilogy for New Line Cinema. Jackson’s appearance created as many questions as it answered. Bloggers are reporting he said that The Hobbit might become a trilogy and they’ve also wondered why Jackson chose not to show the 3D in the 48 frames-per-second format in which he shot both Hobbit films. On the trilogy possibility, I’m told that while Jackson shot plenty of extra footage, he has already stretched a single book into two movies. His DVD editions of The Lord of the Rings were so compellingly loaded with extended cuts of each film—they actually filled in storytelling gaps for hard core fans–that my bet is he indulges those fans that way again, even though no final decision has yet been made. I don’t think anybody but the money guys behind Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 thought it was creatively satisfying to break Stephenie Meyer’s last book into two films and I would be surprised if Jackson went that route unless the movies are just too long to fit in a double feature.

DEADLINE: Guillermo Del Toro told me he didn’t feel badly about stepping away from directing The Hobbit because the film ended up in the right hands, your hands. Everybody felt that way but you it seemed. Why did it take you so long to embrace a return to Middle Earth as director?

JACKSON: It did seem that way, but you’re talking about a series of events that were largely out of everybody’s control at the time. I have a certain belief in fate. Not in a religious way but over my life I find that if you try to assert yourself and influence things too much, it’s not necessarily the best idea. You kind of take your foot off the clutch at some stage and freewheel and let things happen. Guillermo was developing The Hobbit, I was producing it and I had other things that I was developing of my own at that time. And for the 18 months he was on it, we never had a green light. Read More »

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‘The Hobbit’ Principal Photography Finished

The Hobbit movies have finished filming in New Zealand, director Peter Jackson announced on Facebook. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theatres December 14th followed a year later almost to the day … Read More »

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Hot Blog Video: Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’

By | Thursday June 7, 2012 @ 5:40am PDT
Mike Fleming

Peter Jackson has delivered another in a series of video blogs on the making of The Hobbit. This one is a tour of the New Zealand sets where the movie is being made. Jackson has been most generous in letting … Read More »

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‘Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ To Premiere In New Zealand On Nov. 28

By | Tuesday June 5, 2012 @ 5:09pm PDT

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will have its world premiere November 28 in New Zealand — two weeks before its U.S. debut and on Jackson’s home turf. Warner Bros bows the film in the states December 14, 2012; … Read More »

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Peter Jackson To ‘Hobbit’ Naysayers: Wait Until You See The Whole Movie

By | Friday April 27, 2012 @ 8:25pm PDT

After less than glowing audience reaction to clips of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey screened in ultra-high-resolution at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, director Peter Jackson says “Nobody is going to stop. This technology is going to keep evolving.” … Read More »

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‘The Hobbit’ Footage In New Format Draws Lukewarm Response: CinemaCon

By | Tuesday April 24, 2012 @ 2:38pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Warner Bros played to a full house this morning for its 2012 product presentation at the enormous Caesars Palace Colisseum theatre on the second day of CinemaCon. The Hobbit 2012 FootageOne reason was certainly pre-publicity about 10 minutes of footage of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit being debuted in the revolutionary new format of 48 frames per second. The exhibs had to wait until the end of Warner Bros topper Jeff Robinov’s entire presentation to see how this potential game-changer looks. But before they did, Jackson gave them a history lesson on the subject in taped introductory remarks (also shot in 3D but at 24 frames per sec) from New Zealand. That’s where he is working on the first of the two new films, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opens December 14 (the second follows a year later). Jackson explained as the process got more talked-about in the industry he became intrigued by it and was hopeful Hobbit could be the first mainstream major studio feature to be projected at 48 frames (24 frames has been the norm for the last 80 years). Now having done it, he feels there is no reason at all to stick with 24. “It gives you much more of an illusion of real life; in 3D it also offers much less eye-strain,” he said, adding that with digital technology taking over the exhibition industry now, it’s “simple”, and he asked for the exhibitors’ support. With that, he intro’d 10 minutes of Hobbit footage but warned the crowd that it might take their eyes a little time to get used to. He also noted that the footage was far from finished but that this taste will give them the idea.

Related: ‘Dark Shadows’, ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Light Up Warners’ Summer Preview: CinemaCon Read More »

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Sony Classics Takes Worldwide Rights to ‘West Of Memphis’

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 3:52pm PST

The high-profile documentary directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil) debuted at the recent Sundance Film Festival. Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson produced the film with first-time producers Damien Echols (a subject of the film) and … Read More »

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Billy Connolly Joining Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’

By | Wednesday February 8, 2012 @ 4:07pm PST
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Peter Jackson has set the final piece for his two-picture adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit. Billy Connolly has joined the cast in the role … Read More »

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BREAKING: ‘West Of Memphis’ Unveils New Witnesses In Murder Case

By | Friday January 20, 2012 @ 9:30am PST
Mike Fleming

West Of Memphis DocumentaryThis morning, I reported rumblings I’d heard that the Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh-financed Sundance documentary West Of Memphis would likely drop some revelations that could provoke the state of Arkansas to take a closer look at the 1993 murder of three youths that was originally pinned on West Memphis 3 defendants Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. The film’s first press screening is still going on, but a release has just been sent out from Echols’ legal team about the new revelations that are in the Amy Berg-directed film and came from a WM3 tipline arranged by the legal team fighting to get the three defendants exonerated. Here is the release:

(Mountain Home, Arkansas – January 20, 2012) Terry Hobbs’ nephew, Michael Hobbs Jr., allegedly told his friends “my uncle Terry murdered those three little boys,” according to declarations under penalty of perjury recently given to Damien Echols’ defense team. The three new witnesses were polygraphed about what they stated Michael Hobbs, Jr. told them.

“One day Michael picked us up in his truck. He was very quiet and upset. Michael then said to us, ‘you are not going to believe what my dad told me today. My Uncle Terry murdered the three little boys.’ According to Michael, his dad called this ‘The Hobbs Family Secret’ and he asked us to keep it a secret and not tell anyone.”

Read More »

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