Warner Brothers is trying something rather unusual and kind of awesome: They’ll be streaming Casablanca on Facebook for today for free at 7 PM Eastern and 7 PM Pacific. Only one screening per Facebook account is permitted, but still, the 1942 movie that’s been referred to as “the greatest film of all time” by more than one credible reviewer? That’s not bad.
Warner is making kind of a big thing out of it, too: A three-disc Blue-ray/DVD combo gift set with the original film and two never-before-seen documentaries about it plus 14 hours of bonus material will hit shelves today. It’s an interesting and somewhat innovative way to pair up a brick-and-mortar release with a virtual event. It’s not the first time Facebook has been used to stream media, but this seems like it could potentially be a bit of a test balloon by Warner Brothers to gauge reception. If this screening turns out to be a hit, I suspect we’ll see more of this kind of thing both from Warner and their competition.
As a footnote: A lot of you young’uns have never seen Casablanca and may only have a vague grasp on the pre-Internet memes of “here’s lookin’ at you, kid” and “play it again, Sam.” But if you think you can handle a movie that has no 3D, no lightsabers, no ninjas and no sequels, you may find yourself enjoying one of the greatest films ever made.
Update: This one seems to be for Americans only, kids. Sorry if I got my fellow Canadians (or any other non-Americans) excited!