The big (and smooth) picture: Paramount has sent a letter to cinemas across the U.S. requesting that they complete a variety of tests to find the fastest frame rate their screens can support. Their goal is to bring Ang Lee’s latest movie, Gemini Man, to more than the two cinemas he managed last time he filmed a movie at 120 FPS.
Gemini Man will be a sci-fi thriller following a retired assassin who must face off against a younger clone of himself who can predict his next move with cunning accuracy. Will Smith will play the lead role of Henry Brogan, with Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong playing supporting characters. Paramount believes the film will be very successful when it arrives in cinemas on October 4th.
Key to that success, according to Director Ang Lee, is the full 3D 4K 120 FPS experience. Ang Lee’s undoubtedly an expert on what makes a film good, having been the mastermind behind Life of Pi and Brokeback Mountain and winning an Oscar for both. However, 120 FPS and even 60 FPS isn’t taking off, largely due to the “soap opera” effect that can make such high framerates feel cheesy and fake.
Paramount's letter claims otherwise.
This fall the Studio will be releasing director Ang Lee’s highly anticipated action thriller, Gemini Man, starring Will Smith. Ang’s unique vision for this film includes recording and projecting in the most pristine and immersive formats. We want to do everything possible to make projecting the high frame rate version of Gemini Man a turnkey experience for you and provide audiences with the latest technological advancement in cinema.
In 2016 Ang Lee released Billy Lynn’s Long Half Time Walk in 120 FPS – but only twelve cinemas worldwide played it at those speeds and only two in the U.S. The Rolling Stone said that the high framerate was distracting and that the movie “favors bleeding-edge technology over blood and guts to a fault.” It only grossed $1.7 million, though that could have been a result of its unpopular critical stance on the Iraq War.
While Billy Lynn used the high framerate to add depth (supposedly), Gemini Man is expected to use the high framerates to make fast action scenes and quick camera movements more fluid. Personally, as a casual gamer who appreciates high framerates in games and finds movies irritatingly slow, that sounds great. It’ll be interesting to how wider audiences respond.