Skip to main content

The Wizard of Oz returns to movie theaters for Judy Garland’s 100th birthday

The Wizard of Oz
(Image credit: MGM)

Many US movie fans have the opportunity to see The Wizard of Oz on the big screen for the first time ever Sunday, June 5, and Monday, June 6. One of the best movie musicals of all time is going to have special screenings at theaters across the country in celebration of  Judy Garland’s 100th birthday, which would have been on June 10. The screenings are being organized by Fathom Events.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wizard of Oz tells the story of a young girl named Dorothy (Garland), who is transported to the magical world of Oz. With the help of her new friends Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tinman (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), Glinda the Good Witch (Billie Burke) and her faithful dog Toto, Dorothy tries to find her way back home to Kansas and escape the Wicked Witch of the West (a terrifically scary Margaret Hamilton).

Since its release in 1939, The Wizard of Oz has become one of the most well known and beloved movies of all time, thanks in large part to the incredible performance of Garland, memorable songs like "Over the Rainbow" and "If I Only Had a Brain" and its beautiful use of technicolor when the technology was still new. Even though the movie plays on TV a fair amount, the chance to see classic scenes — like when Dorothy opens the door of her black-and-white Kansas house into the vibrant, colorful world of Oz — on a big screen like they were originally intended is a rare occurrence.

Even after more than 80 years, The Wizard of Oz still holds a special place in culture. For example, one of the blue and white dresses that Judy Garland wore during the movie was supposed to go up for auction in late May before a judge issued an injunction (opens in new tab); presale estimates said the dress could have sold for between $800,000 and $1.2 million.

Fathom is going to play The Wizard of Oz in more than 800 movie theaters throughout the US, with four screenings taking place at each over June 5 and June 6; each day will have showings at 3 pm and 7 pm local time. Part of the screening includes an extended musical and dance number from Scarecrow that was cut from the original version.

In a weekend where the biggest draw in movie theaters is still Top Gun: Maverick and new releases are highlighted by Fire Island streaming on Hulu and a limited release of David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, The Wizard of Oz could be a nice alternative for those looking to enjoy a trip to the movie theaters.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at Fathom.com (opens in new tab) and on the websites of movie theaters that are playing the special screening. Fathom also allows you to search what movie theaters are showing the movie. 

The only other place that fans can watch The Wizard of Oz right now, outside of a random TV showing, is on HBO Max, which requires a monthly subscription.

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun.