The Hobbit (lost high-frame rate versions of high fantasy adventure film trilogy based on novel; 2012-2014)

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Cover of The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy.

Status: Lost

The Hobbit is a trilogy of high fantasy adventure films based on the J. R. R. Tolkien novel of the same name. They were directed by Peter Jackson and serve as prequels to Jackson's earlier The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In an effort to improve the film viewing experience, Jackson filmed the entire trilogy in 48 frames per second (FPS), double the industry standard of 24 FPS. Despite his efforts the high-frame-rate (HFR) versions never received a home media release and remain lost.[1]


In April 2011, Peter Jackson announced on his official Facebook page that he would be filming the The Hobbit trilogy (at that time planned to be a duology) in the new HFR format. He made the switch due to the "hugely enhanced clarity and smoothness" 48 FPS offered. This theoretically makes the resulting film much easier on the eyes and thus - for fantasy and sci-fi films particularly - enhances the details of world-building, especially when watching in 3D.[1][2]

Despite this excitement for HFR from Jackson and other directors, when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey released into theaters in December 2012 the HFR showings of the film were widely panned. While Jackson claimed that the technology would lead to a more immersive viewing experience, critics and audience members alike found it did the opposite, with many comparing the experience to watching a home video or TV soap opera.[2][3] Jackson tried to tone down the HFR in the remaining two films (The Desolation of Smaug & The Battle of the Five Armies) in an effort to address these complaints, but it did little to convince audiences that they were looking at the future of cinema, and neither Jackson nor any other director has used it so extensively since.[2][4]


While it is unknown why the HFR versions of the films were never released on home media it's likely due to a combination of negative reception and technical limitations. Some fan-made recreations of the trailers using a facsimile of the technology can be found online, but these have no official endorsement and do not exactly reproduce the effect.

See Also