In October 2011, I got to visit the wonderful world of Oz and watch director Sam Raimi direct his preboot (prequel/reboot) of the classic L. Frank Baum book series. I learned much on the set of Oz: The Great and Powerful. Most fascinating to me was some of the things Disney had to do satisfy legal concerns over possibly violating copyrighted imagery from the classic 1939 film adaptation, owned by Warner Bros.

And while trailers for the film focus on wholly computer-generated worlds and characters, you might be shocked to learn the lengths that Sam Raimi went through to shoot a lot of the film practically. For example, it was interesting to see Raimi inventing new practical solutions to help the supporting actors create and react to live performances for characters who would eventually be created in CG — and I’m not talking about performance capture.

After the jump you can watch a video blog we recorded talking about the visit, followed by many more things I learned while on the set.

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A few weeks ago, Disney dropped a striking poster featuring the Wicked Witch of the West, adding fuel to the ongoing debate about whether it’s Evanora (Rachel Weisz) or Theodora (Mila Kunis) who goes green in Oz: The Great and Powerful. A new batch of posters doesn’t answer that question, but it does give us a closer look at who the individual players in the movie are. Hit the jump to see individual characters for Evanora, Theodora, Glinda (Michelle Williams), and of course, the Wizard himself (James Franco).

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So far, most of Disney’s promos for Oz: The Great and Powerful have played up the lush fantasy world created by Sam Raimi, or perhaps the epic tale of James Franco‘s Oscar Diggs. The newest featurette, however, delves into the movie’s more comedic aspects.

Or perhaps that should be “comedic,” in quotes, since the jokes are more groanworthy than funny. And they’re definitely not any better when delivered by a CG flying monkey. On the bright side, the video does offer some better insight into who the three witches (played by Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams) are, and what makes each one tick. Watch it after the jump.

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The year has just begun, but that means we’re a mere five months from the opening of blockbuster season in May, and so it’s time for studios to make sure that we know all about the films they’ve spent millions upon millions of dollars making, and possibly even more to promote.

So here are new images from Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel, Joseph Kosinski‘s Oblivion, Marc Forster‘s delayed World War Z, one more from Sam Raimi‘s Oz: The Great and Powerful, to complement the few we presented yesterday, and a cute shot from Despicable Me 2 to round things out.

None of these will reveal much new about any of the films in question, but each is a good reminder of what’s to come this summer. Read More »

The red-band trailer for Fede Alvarez‘s remake of Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead is now online and it’s the kind of movie that should only have a red band trailer. Fans will be delighted to see the gore that made the 1981 original a classic look like a Disney film. This new version, which is produced by Raimi and Bruce Campbell, opens April 12. Check out the trailer below. Read More »

Sam Raimi‘s new prequel to The Wizard of Oz opens in a couple months, and to complement the most recent TV spots and trailer, we’ve got some new high-res photos that show off the characters played by James Franco, Michelle Williams, and others.

Oz: The Great and Powerful follows a magician (Franco) whose escape from a small town con game turns into a path to a new world, as he pilots a balloon that is blown off course into Oz. There he meets a trio of witches (Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz) and a few odd characters such as the monkey Finley (voiced by Zach Braff) and China Girl (voiced by Joey King).

The new images show off the designs and costumes that bring the characters to life; even if the film looks a bit too much like Alice in Wonderland for your taste, the costumes (by Gary Jones, who also did Spider-Man 2) are pretty spectacular.  Read More »

Well, it’s 2013 and that means we can wipe the slate clean in all kinds of ways. Gone are the days obsessing over The Avengers and Dark Knight Rises. Now it’s about the latest and greatest. One such film, or at least Disney hopes, is Sam Raimi‘s Oz The Great and Powerful. The big budget prequel to the classic 1939 film stars James Franco as a magician who is run out of a small town, only to end up in Oz. There, he encounters magic beyond his wildest dreams as he’s forced to choose sides in an epic battle for the land between three sisters: Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams).

Raimi’s film will be released on March 8 and Disney released two spots during the New Year’s Eve celebration to get fans excited. Check them out below. Read More »

Most doubt about who the baddest of them all will be in Sam Raimi‘s Oz The Great and Powerful can now be put to bed. In the film, which opens March 8, simple trickster Oscar Diggs (James Franco) ends up in Oz and meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are struggling for control of the land. As Diggs figures out his role in Oz, he must also figure out whose intentions are true and whose are not.

Too bad his character didn’t catch a glimpse of this new poster. It prominently features Weisz’s character, Evanora, looking like an iconic Wicked Witch. The poster comes out at an interesting time for the Oscar-winning actress, who recently got a Golden Globe nomination for the film The Deep Blue Sea, which is now on Netflix Instant. See the full poster and read more below. Read More »

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