September 24, 2008, 12:00 AM

Netflix hosting challenge to break movie-viewing record

Netflix is hosting a contest aiming to break the world record for continuous movie viewing. Eight movie buffs will test their mettle, never breaking eye contact with the screen.

All those movie buffs who deem themselves world-class fans can soon step aside. A new world champion movie-watcher could be crowned next month and the winner also takes home the Popcorn Bowl trophy.

A promo dreamed up by Netflix Inc. pits eight contestants in an all-out movie-viewing smackdown to take place Oct. 2-7 in New York’s Times Square. On the marquee: 56 movies that add up to 121 hours in order to top the current record of 120 hours and 23 minutes held by Ashish Sharma of Mathura, India.

If the 121-hour mark is reached, the viewer becomes the new Guinness World Record holder. And Netflix, No. 17 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is sweetening the pot with a $10,000 cash prize, a lifetime subscription to Netflix and the inaugural Popcorn Bowl trophy.

The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. EDT and competitors will be housed in a Plexiglas “living room” in the center of Times Square. Guinness World Records rules require the contestants to watch films non-stop without averting their eyes from the screen. Competitors will be given 10 minutes between each movie, or approximately every two hours, to refresh themselves. Eating, drinking, standing and stretching are allowed as long as eyes are on the screen. Gourmet popcorn will be provided by Dale and Thomas Popcorn.

The contestants all have competition in their blood and include former movie-viewing record holders, a winner of the movie version of “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire,” an eating competition champion, and the current record holder.

“The Netflix Movie Watching World Championship is a showcase for die-hard movie buffs who possess incredible focus and discipline,” says Leslie Kilgore, chief marketing officer for Netflix. “It combines the love of movies with the thrill of competition at the crossroads of the world.”

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