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Wednesday
Aug192009

'Wizard of Oz' Returns to Theaters for One Night Only

Didn't I just intone about the relevance of original films versus their (usually inferior) remakes? Why yes, yes I did. Which is what makes this news so interesting: The Wizard of Oz will return to theaters on September 23rd, for one night only.

The event will mark the 70th anniversary of what has become arguably one of the ten or twenty most popular films ever made, and it will appeal to not just ardent fans of the movies, but those of us who look at this news and say, wistfully, "I've never seen that in a theater." And it's probably worth it.

Warner Bros. Home Video and Fathom Entertainment are presenting Oz in high definition on September 23rd at 7:00pm local time. Just fill in your ZIP code to find out where it will be playing near you. The movie will be accompanied by the new featurette, To Oz! The Making of a Classic. This is basically an theatrical version of the new Blu-ray DVD, which comes out on September 29th.

From the official press release (via Slashfilm):

"The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Hi-Def Event appears on the big screen in high definition with Cinema Surround Sound in 449 select AMC Entertainment Inc., Celebration! Cinema, Cinemark Holdings, Inc., Clearview Cinemas, Cobb Theatres, Georgia Theatre Co., Goodrich Quality Theaters, Hollywood Theaters, Kerasotes Showplace Theatres, Malco Theatres, National Amusements and Regal Entertainment Group movie theaters, as well as Arlington Theatre (Santa Barbara, CA), The Carolina (Asheville, NC), El Raton Theatre (Raton, NM), Palace Cinema 9 (South Burlington, VT) and Penn Cinema (Lititz, PA), through NCM’s exclusive Digital Broadcast Network."

Several websites to keep in mind for this one: WizardofOz.com for news and updates, FathomEvents.com for tickets and such, and the previously referenced NCM Fathom site.

This kind of thing is nothing new, and I wish we saw it more often. When Vertigo and Citizen Kane were remastered about ten years ago, both of them had brief theatrical runs. Neither did spectacularly well, but that wasn't really the rooting interest in either case. However, The Exorcist was re-issued in 2000 and actually held the second place position at the box office for two weeks on its way to earning $40 million.

So old movies are still viable, especially if there's an occasion that makes sense. I'm kind of surprised that Oz won't make a full comeback prior to the Blu-ray.

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