Anyone with a computer and Internet connection can be off to see “The Wizard of Oz” for free next month, courtesy of Netflix Inc.’s movie-streaming service.
The free showings will be available throughout the U.S. for 24 hours beginning at 9 a.m. EDT Oct. 3.
It’s part of a publicity stunt to draw attention to the film’s 70th anniversary. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is celebrating the occasion by selling a special edition of the movie on Blu-ray and DVD beginning Sept. 29.
While Time Warner Inc.’s home video unit is trying to drum up more sales, Netflix is hoping to introducing more people to the convenience of streaming movies over the Internet. The technology already has helped Netflix — the leading DVD-by-mail service — attract more than 4 million subscribers since the company unveiled its streaming service in 2007.
Netflix’s 10.6 million subscribers will be able to watch “The Wizard of Oz” in high-definition during the free promotion if they have a flat-panel TV and one of the many gadgets compatible with the company’s streaming service. Customers just have to remember to add the movie to their queues.
Non-subscribers should be able to watch the movie for free on their computers by going to http://www.netflix.com/wizardofoz.
Netflix is also staging a free concert in New York’s Central Park on Sept. 29, headlined by Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, performing songs from film. After the concert, the movie will be shown on an inflatable screen in Central Park. (Unfortunately for those into “The Wizard of Oz” psychedelic lore, there are no plans to play Pink Floyd’s album “Dark Side of The Moon” during the public showing.)