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By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

WARNER BROS. PICTURES UNVEILS NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN FOOTAGE OF “THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY” SHOWCASING STUNNING HIGH-FRAME-RATE RESULTS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BURBANK, CA, April 24, 2012 — Warner Bros. Pictures screened approximately 10 minutes of never-before-seen footage from New Line Cinema and MGM’s upcoming epic “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” which showcased the filmmaking innovation of 48 frames-per-second (fps), doubling the typical frame rate of 24 fps.  The footage was part of the studio’s presentation at CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO).

The film, slated for worldwide release beginning December 14, 2012, is the first major motion picture to be made using this state-of-the art high-frame-rate technology.

The footage was introduced via a taped greeting from director Peter Jackson, who gave a bit of history as to how 24 fps became the industry standard and why today’s technology allows for higher frame rates. He also explained that 48 fps is actually closer to the way the human eye views the world.  Jackson offered, “As a filmmaker, I always want to create a strong sense of reality, to allow the audience to lose themselves in whatever the cinematic story is that I’m presenting.  Shooting and projecting at 48 fps gives you the illusion that a hole has been cut in the wall of the cinema, and you’re watching the story unfold with a heightened sense of reality.  It’s terrific for 3D; I’ve looked at the 48 fps dailies for ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ in 3D for over a year now, and with the reduction in strobing and flicker, it is a much more gentle experience on your eyes.  48 fps is not just limited to 3D.  A film shot in 48 fps looks fantastic when projected in 2D, and converts well to 24 fps as well.”

Dan Fellman, Warner Bros. Pictures President, Domestic Distribution, stated, “24 fps has been the standard in our industry for the last 80 years, so this is an exciting breakthrough.  It’s no surprise that Peter Jackson, with his commitment to innovation, is the first director to utilize 48 fps on a grand scale.  It’s equally gratifying to me to see the exhibition community embrace this advancement.”

Veronika Kwan Vandenberg, Warner Bros. Pictures President, International Distribution, added, “We’re thrilled to be arm-in-arm with Peter Jackson and the exhibition community in exploring the possibilities of high-frame-rate filmmaking.  The powerful combination of enduring storytelling and spectacular visuals will offer an exciting new movie-going experience to audiences around the world.”

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” the first of two films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.  The adventure follows the journey of title character Bilbo Baggins, who is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.  Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield.  Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers.

Ian McKellen returns as Gandalf the Grey and Martin Freeman stars in the central role of Bilbo Baggins.  The ensemble cast also includes (in alphabetical order) Richard Armitage, John Bell, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Luke Evans, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Ian Holm, Peter Hambleton, Barry Humphries, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Evangeline Lilly, Sylvester McCoy, Bret McKenzie, Graham McTavish, Mike Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Christopher Lee, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Andy Serkis, Conan Stevens, Ken Stott, Jeffrey Thomas, Aidan Turner, Hugo Weaving and Elijah Wood.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is directed by Peter Jackson from a screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Guillermo del Toro and Jackson.  Jackson is also producing the film, together with Fran Walsh and Carolynne Cunningham.  The executive producers are Alan Horn, Ken Kamins, Toby Emmerich and Zane Weiner, with Boyens serving as co-producer.

“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is a production of New Line Cinema and MGM, with New Line managing production.  Warner Bros Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories, as well as all international television licensing being handled by MGM.  “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” will be released on December 14, 2012, and the second film, “The Hobbit: There and Back Again,” opens on December 13, 2013.  Both films will be released in 3D and 2D in select theatres and IMAX. www.thehobbit.com

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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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