Looking forward to The Hobbit, but a little unsure what all the fuss is about over higher frame rates and what to expect? Well, although it looks like the movie is leading the way when it comes to higher frame rates, the first film will only be shown at 48 frames per second in select theaters to judge audience reactions.

Variety has reported that Warner Bros. will be keeping the number of theaters showing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at 48fps fairly low, with perhaps not even all major cities having theaters showing the film in that particular format. Apparently this is to judge the audiences’ reaction to the presentation – if it gets a good result, we could be seeing more theaters showing the other two instalments in 48fps.

According to CinemaBlend, although people who study the film will doubtlessly be able to tell the difference between watching the film in 48 frames per second and 24 frames per second, the common movie-goer likely has absolutely no idea what either one means and will just be surprised when their screening of The Hobbit looks funny.

Saying that, Hollywood seems to have cottoned onto the fact that if HFS is to become the next big thing, audiences will need time to adjust to the new presentation method; and some may just not like it.

Things do appear to be looking up though, as the trade has heard from people who have seen the latest footage shown in 3D and 48 frames per second and say that it is a sincere improvement over what was shown earlier this year at CinemaCon – where it was widely criticized for being too sharp and realistic to properly capture the fantasy world of Middle Earth.

Last month at Comic Con, director Peter Jackson took the time to answer some tough questions on the LOTR prequel, including why he opted to shoot the film in 48fps:

48 frames per second has the potential of being an important moment for the film industry. We have to provide a theatrical experience to bring audiences back to the cinema. We’re in an age where there is dwindling attendance particularly amongst younger people. I think we have to look to the technology that we have to try to figure out ways to make this cinematic experience much more spectacular, more immersive.

Luckily, with an epic movie such as Jackson’s, the frame rate shouldn’t too have much of an effect on the success of the film, with Lord of the Rings fans ready to flock to theaters to see the famous story prequel come to life. Who’s excited yet?

Do you think Warner Bros. have made a wise decision?