Perhaps Warner Bros. isn't so bullish on that whole "48 frames per second" business after all.

According to a "source familiar" with the studio's release plans for Peter Jackson's upcoming first installment of "The Hobbit," the higher-frame-rate version of the film will be screened only in select locations this December. In fact, the release will be so limited that even some major cities may not get it.

How audiences respond will ultimately determine how wide they go with "HFR" versions of the second and (recently-announced) third parts of the trilogy.

The story was broken by Variety.

Heavily touted by Jackson, 48 frames has proven controversial ever since early HFR footage from the Tolkien adaptation was first shown at CinemaCon back in April. While it's not clear whether the mixed-to-negative reaction from that screening resulted in the selective release strategy, Warner Bros. is clearly taking a cautious approach with the unfamiliar format.

How do you feel about 48 frames per second? Will you choose to see "The Hobbit" in the format if it's made available in your city? Sound off in the comments!

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" is slated for release on December 14.