Social media buzz leading up to this Friday’s release of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” is great. But for a new technology showing the movie at 48 frames per second... not so much.
According to data collected by research firm Fizziology, an overwhelming 60% of the conversation on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook about the 48 frames per second version of “The Hobbit” -- which will be shown at only about 450 theaters out of 4,000-plus in the U.S. and Canada -- is negative. Only 10% is positive, while 30% is neutral.
“The Hobbit” is the first major studio movie to play at 48 frames per second. For more than 80 years, the industry standard has been 24 frames per second.
48 frames per second is by far the most common complaint about “The Hobbit” on social media, making up 45% of negative conversations. The film’s hefty two-hour, 49-minute running time is No. 2 at 13%.
Reviews of the “high frame rate” version of “The Hobbit” have been decidedly mixed, with some critics praising the sharper quality and others saying it looks like a high-definition television show and makes some props and sets look fake.
Some of the social media complaints have also centered on unverified reports that the high frame rate version made some viewers at the New Zealand premiere nauseated. Warner Bros. has denied the claim, and no one has stepped forward publicly with that complaint.
If buzz surrounding 48 frames per second remains negative, few people may choose to see the movie that way. Nonetheless, all signs are that people are eager to see “The Hobbit” one way or another (most theaters will show it at the standard 24 frames per second, either in 2-D or 3-D).
Almost 40% of all sentiment surrounding “The Hobbit” online is positive, according to Fizziology, compared with just 7% that’s negative. That data back up very strong numbers in the “tracking” pre-release surveys distributed throughout Hollywood.
As a result, “The Hobbit” is expected to open to more than $100 million this weekend.