The stunt is aimed at boosting subscriber rolls, as the fledgling Redbox Instant by Verizon service tries to gain traction against market leader Netflix.
The way the offer is described makes it seem like the company will require a minimum number of tweets about the promo, according to a temperature gauge on its website. But the freeview of "The Hobbit" is available regardless of how many tweets are sent, spokeswoman Jennifer St. Clair said.
"Customer response thus far has been great, and the promotion is part of our continuing efforts to bring the biggest movies at the best value to our customers," St. Clair said.
Viewing the movie will require setting up a Redbox Instant by Verizon account and credit card; users don't need to become subscribers to watch "The Hobbit" during the promotional period, though.
If people tweet #redboxinstantgimme we'll give away The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at redboxinstant.com/gimme (PLS RT) !!--Redbox Instant by Verizon, a joint venture of Coinstar and Verizon Communications, offers an $8 monthly plan that includes unlimited streaming of more than 5,000 movie titles and up to four DVD rentals from Redbox kiosks. The company launched the service earlier this year; it hasn't disclosed how many users it has.
Redbox Instant (@redboxinstant) May 20, 2013
The company teamed with Warner Bros. Entertainment on "The Hobbit" promotion. Redbox Instant by Verizon said it plans to run similar movie offers in the future.
To view "The Hobbit" for free, users must rent the movie between 8 ET on May 22 and 12 a.m. ET on May 23. The movie must be watched within 30 days, and once users start streaming it they will have unlimited viewing for 48 hours on any supported registered devices.