Night Moves

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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DEADLINE: How does a visualist feel about people watching your films on a phone or VOD?
REFN: It depends on what kind of movie you make. We had great success with Only God Forgives on multiple platforms in the U.S. Young people will decide how they see it, when they want to see it. Don’t try to fight it. Embrace it. That’s a wonderful opportunity. We’re at the most exciting time since the invention of the wheel, in terms of creativity because distribution and accessibility have changed everything. A camera is still a camera whether it’s digital or not; there’s still sound; an actor is an actor. Ninety-nine percent of what you do is going to be seen on a smart phone – I know this is the greatest thing ever made because it allows people to choose, watching what you do on this format or go into a theater and see it on a screen. That means more people than ever will see what I do, which is personally satisfying in terms of vanity. But you have to be able to adapt, to accept things in different order and length than we’re used to. We are in a very, very exciting time.
~ Nic Refn to Jen Yamato

DEADLINE: You mention Tarantino, who with Christopher Nolan and a few other giants, saved film stock from extinction. To him, showing a digital film in a theater is the equivalent of watching TV in public. Make an argument for why digital is a good film making canvas.
REFN: Costwise, it’s a very effective way for young people to start making movies. You can make your movie on an iPhone. It’s wonderful seeing how my own children use technology to enhance creativity. For me it’s a wonderful canvas. Sure, I love grain in film. I love celluloid. But I also like creativity. I like crayons, I like pencils, I like paint. It’s all relative. Technology is more inclusive. A hundred years ago when film was invented, it was an elitist club. Very few people got to make it, very few people controlled it and very few people owned it. A hundred years later, storytelling through images is everyone’s domain. It’s ultimate capitalism. There are no rules, and no barriers and no Hays Code. Where does this go in another hundred years? I don’t know but I would love to see it.
~ Nic Refn To Jen Yamato