Variety is reporting that a source familiar with Warner Bros release plans for Peter Jackson’s first “Hobbit,” the HFR version (high frame rate) will go out to only select locations, perhaps not even into all major cities. However, reports from people shown recent footage of the 48 frames-per-second 3D indicate the picture now looks vastly better than the test footage shown this April at CinemaCon.

The studio may be hoping to protect the format by going into a limited release for the HFR version and gauging audience reaction before expanding the release further for the second and third installments. An additional complication is that no theatres are yet ready for HFR projection, but some require only a software upgrade that will be ready in September. Variety says that Warners is satisfied with the pace of efforts to ready theatres for HFR.