EDIT: Variety says AICN is full of shit. Like, all the way explicitly wrong. Full-stop denial. So there’s that. All the Hobbit-related material remains the same!
While the first Hobbit film blazed the 48fps path last year, there hasn’t been a ton of talk about the format since. No major films have announced HFR production, and there are some that have wondered aloud if Warner Bros. would even move forward on a HFR release for the second Hobbit film.
We can be sure on the latter point at least: Desolation of Smaug will definitely be released in the high-frame-rate format this December. They’ve shown the trailer in 48fps at conferences and, honestly, it just makes sense- the studio and Jackson have no interest in backing down because of the internet perception of a backlash, and it doesn’t really cost them anything extra in terms of distribution. They spent the money on the heavier-load workflow and extra hard drives, so we’ll see it in 48fps. There was even word out of the IBC Awards in September that the 48fps look was much improved in the Hobbit 2 trailer they showed there, so maybe even the doubters will give it another shot!
In any event, we also have some not-insubstantial word on that first point as well. We may in fact have our second major HFR production in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past. This comes from AICN (so, salt grains) but is said to be double-sourced and reliable. To bolster their claim, Singer was very positive about his pal Jackson’s film and its format last year…
— Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) November 28, 2012
Thus it stands to reason he lobbied for his return to the big mutant franchise be in the new format, which was shot in native 3D as well.
We still need official word from the studio, which may be quiet as long as possible on the subject so they can see how well The Hobbit does in its second HFR trial. If there’s positive buzz around improvements, we’ll see some pimping of the HFR on X-Men. If word is toxic or unchanged, the release may be a more matter-of-fact, quiet rollout. I figure that has to be the case, since Singer would have undoubtedly tweeted a picture of a 48fps-labeled slate sometime during production if there weren’t a studio mandate to wait.
In any event —as I did last year— I’ll continue hoping the conversation around this tool becomes more nuanced on the part of both the pundits and the filmmakers. I wait with raised eyebrows for that dialogue to begin in a month or so…