UPDATE 10/3/19: The story has been updated with more information about Imax screenings.
UPDATE 10/2/19: Dolby tells us Gemini Man is screening in Dolby Vision 3D HFR at 120fps at 14 Dolby Cinema locations around the U.S. Scroll down for the list of theaters.
Ang Lee’s upcoming Gemini Man is one of just a few films shot at 120fps. The high frame rate (HFR) is meant to make the viewing experience more natural and immersive, especially in 3D, compared to films shot at the long-time standard of 24fps. The question is: where will you be able to see it in HFR?
Despite the Herculean effort behind the scenes to make Gemini Man look as good as it possibly can, and Lee’s obvious enthusiasm for the HFR format (his previous release, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, was also shot at 120fps), Paramount is hardly making the technical advance obvious to audiences. A card at the end of the film’s official trailer promotes Real D 3D, Dolby Cinema and Imax formats but doesn’t mention HFR at all.
To be fair, Paramount does have its hands full with technical angles on the film, given that the story has Will Smith performing opposite his own hero character — via performance capture — as a younger version of himself. The studio likely doesn’t want the film’s HFR story to get mixed up with its VFX achievement. It also doesn’t want to scare moviegoers away from standard screenings by overhyping the benefits of HFR. And it’s not like the HFR angle helped make Billy Lynn a hit, anyway. Per Wikipedia, that film earned just $30.9 million worldwide against a reported $40 million budget.
Part of the problem with Billy Lynn was that the technology was a little too far out on the bleeding edge. Only two theaters in the U.S. — the Arclight in Hollywood and the AMC Lincoln Square in New York — were specially outfitted to show Billy Lynn in 3D 4K at 120fps. In an effort to get ahead of any technical issues with the Gemini Man rollout, Paramount distributed a piece of HFR test content earlier this year that could be used to verify HFR capability. But some theater operators, including a few posters to the popular forums hosted by digital cinema automation provider Film-Tech, remain confused and frustrated by the process of figuring out which versions they can play.
Filmgoers have also started posting in discussion forums to compare notes on which theaters are screening the film in HFR. One Reddit poster spotted an Imax-hosted page purporting to show Imax 3D HFR screening locations. It indicates that 19 theaters in the U.S. and two more in Canada will be showing an Imax HFR version of the film. This week, that list was updated by Imax with the caveat that several of the theaters listed are “Coming Soon.” Imax also clarified that the screenings will be projected in stereo 3D at 60fps. Imax 2D theaters will be screening Gemini Man at the standard 24fps, the company said. Meanwhile, the Imax HFR version is scheduled to screen at 28 venues outside North America.
Advance listings at the AMC Theatres and Regal Theatres websites break out RealD 3D, Imax and Imax with Laser screenings but do not specify HFR.
In this case, it’s ticket-selling sites that come to the rescue. Both Fandango and Movietickets.com clearly break out standard, HFR 3D and HFR Imax 3D in their listings, though they don’t tackle the distinction between 60fps and 120fps. (Some advances showings of the film were reportedly 120fps versions.) It’s not clear whether those listings are exhaustive but, judging just from the information available, it shouldn’t be hard to find an HFR screening — Movietickets.com is currently showing a dozen or so screens running Gemini Man in HFR on opening day in both New York City and Los Angeles, and a spot check indicates that even much smaller markets have gotten on board with HFR — but you may have to read the fine print to make sure you show up to the right theater.
Addendum: we’ve just gotten word that Gemini Man will be screening in Dolby Vision 3D at 120fps (in 2K, alas, not 4K) at 14 Dolby Cinema locations in the U.S. Here is the list of those Dolby Cinema theaters:
AMC Aventura Mall 24 – Miami, FL
AMC Century City 15 – Los Angeles, CA
AMC Del Amo 18 – Los Angeles, CA
AMC Disney Springs 24 – Orlando, FL
AMC Elmwood Palace 20 – New Orleans, LA
AMC Flatiron Crossing 14 – Denver, CO
AMC Hawthorn 12 – Chicago, IL
AMC Lincoln Square 13 – New York, NY
AMC Metreon 16 – San Francisco, CA
AMC North Point 12 – Atlanta, GA
AMC River East 21 – Chicago, IL
AMC Town Square 18 – Las Vegas, NV
AMC White Marsh 16 – Baltimore, MD
AMC Willowbrook 24 – Houston, TX