Warner Bros.’s 48 frame-per-second Hobbit rollback was first announced at ComicCon on 7.12…”scared rabbits,” etc. Eight days ago I predicted that WB and Hobbit director Peter Jackson “are probably going to limit 48 fps venues when The Hobbit opens in December and characterize 48 fps as some kind of eccentric experiment.”

Today Variety‘s David Cohen reported that Warner Bros.will be “keeping the first high-frame-rate release of The Hobbit fairly small [in] select locations, perhaps not even into all major cities…hoping to test the marketplace and expand the HFR release for the second and third installments…provided auds are enthusiastic.”

In other words, WB has next to no confidence in 48 f.p.s. Adverse reactions from old-fart exhibitors and big-mouth bloggers at last April’s Cinemacon scared them silly and they still haven’t recovered. So they’re going to peek out with the 48 fps Hobbit and test the waters and determine if Joe and Jane Popcorn are going to approve or not…and if they don’t, 48 f.p.s. goes under the bus. Or something like that.