Director Peter Jackson said on Saturday that he was confident audiences would embrace his higher-resolution version of his new film, “The Hobbit,” despite his decision not to preview it to fans at Comic-Con.
Jackson showed about 12 minutes of the prequel to his epic “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, starring much of the same cast, at Hall H of the convention center on Saturday.
But he did not mention 3D or show the higher-resolution 48 frames-per-second footage that was shown to theatrical exhibitors in April.
“Like anything, you’ve got to get used to it,” he said. “You don’t know whether you like it or not until you can be immersed in it for two hours. That’s how it should be judged — not in a convention hall, in an environment that is not the cinema."
Some exhibitors and media reacted negatively to the hyper-realistic style of the 48-frame rate – twice as fast as conventional films — when it was shown at CinemaCon, the annual gathering of exhibitors in Las Vegas.
The choice to show the conventional frame speed at Comic-Con clearly paid off, as fans reacted with wild excitement to the scenes in Bilbo’s house and a scene between Gollum and Bilbo.
Jackson said he didn’t want the issue to be a distraction. “Forty-eight frames is terrific; I think it’s going to change the way things are made,” he said at a news conference. “It’s a terrific advancement, giving people an immersive experience that they can’t get off their iPads and to get people back to the cinemas. We are living in an age where teenagers are not going to the movies.”
But, he noted, “I didn’t want people to sit there and watch 10 minutes of film and all they write about is 48 frames.”
Present in Hall H were also Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage and writer-producer Philippa Boyens.
The two-part film has completed principal photography.
Jackson said the biggest surprise of the massive filmmaking undertaking — which initially he was not slated to direct — was how much he was enjoying it.
Said Boyens: “Now ‘Lord of the Rings’ feels like a big brother, with the little brother coming along.”