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'Casablanca' to screen on Facebook on Wednesday night

May 15, 2012|By Ben Fritz
  • Warner Bros. is screening 'Casablanca' for free on Facebook Wednesday night, an industry first.
Warner Bros. is screening 'Casablanca' for free on Facebook… (courtesy of LACMA )

Here’s looking at you on Facebook, kid.

In a first for a Hollywood studio, Warner Bros. is screening its classic 1942 film “Casablanca” for free on Facebook on Wednesday night. While many other studios have rented movies through Facebook since Warner began the practice in March 2011 with “The Dark Knight,” no other film has been screened for free.

The one-night event is intended to help drum up sales for the studio’s deluxe Blu-ray and DVD “Casablanca” collection that was released in March, as well as “Inside the Script,” a new animated ebook series featuring screenplays for classic films including “North by Northwest,” “Ben Hur,” and “Casablanca.”

On Facebook, U.S. users can begin watching “Casablanca” between 7 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and 9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

The market for renting movies on Facebook remains minuscule compared to such digital powerhouses as Apple’s iTunes store, Wal-Mart’s Vudu, and Microsoft’s Zune. That’s in large part because consumers typically prefer to watch movies on televisions or a portable device, not PCs, which are most often used to access Facebook.

However, Facebook has become a fast-growing marketing platform for Hollywood’s movie studios, a category in which the “Casablanca” screening actually fits.

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