When people think of The Wizard of Oz, they think of the 1939 film starring Judy Garland. Yellow brick roads, munchkins, ruby slippers, the wicked witch, all that stuff. Fast forward about 75 years and Disney releases Oz the Great and Powerful, a prequel that features iconography very similar to, but not exactly the same, as the famous film. The reason? Warner Bros. owns the rights to the 1939 classic, but not the L. Frank Baum book it’s based on, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Sam Raimi and his team were very careful not to use any of Warner Bros.’ intellectual property, going so far as having lawyers present during production to make sure they didn’t cross the line. So there are no ruby slippers, the witch isn’t the same color green, the Emerald City looks different, etc. It’s close, but just different enough to avoid a lawsuit.
On its opening weekend, Disney and Raimi’s gamble paid off, grossing an impressive $80 million and work on a sequel has begun. The cash is rolling in for the Mouse House much to the chagrin of Warner Bros., who rightfully feels a certain ownership to the property.
The Los Angeles Times has a fascinating article on how the success of Oz will not only help Disney, but set up a major rivalry between them and Warners who has several Oz related projects in the pipeline including multiple movies at various stages of development. Read More »
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Posted on Monday, March 11th, 2013 by Angie Han
There are days when it feels like all anyone does in Hollywood anymore is make sequels. But today, two folks have decided to opt out of their respective franchises’ next steps.
Though Disney’s reportedly eager to move forward on an Oz The Great and Powerful sequel, director Sam Raimi says he has no plans to direct it. Over at Sony, meanwhile, Nicolas Cage says Ghost Rider 3 could still get made — but not with him. Hit the jump to keep reading.
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Once upon a time, Sam Raimi wanted to call his third Deadite-killing expedition Medieval Dead, and briefly flirted with the title Evil Dead III: Army of Darkness, before simply releasing the movie as Army of Darkness in 1992.
There’s no question that the film is a sequel to Evil Dead II; it uses Bruce Campbell as the same lead character, Ash, and involves many familiar Evil Dead elements. But Army of Darkness had a much more broad, comedy-influenced tone, as well as a heaping dose of fantasy and medieval elements.
Fast-forward to now, when we’ve been hearing that Sam Raimi and his brother Ivan could finally be working on the Evil Dead 4 script that has been rumored for years. But long-time producer Rob Tapert now says that the film won’t be Evil Dead 4, but Army of Darkness 2. Read More »
Posted on Friday, March 8th, 2013 by Angie Han
While Sam Raimi‘s maintained that his breakup with Sony’s Spider-Man franchise was an amicable one, he’s remained understandably reluctant to actually see where the property went next. While doing press for Oz: The Great and Powerful, Raimi likened seeing Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man to attending an ex-girlfriend’s wedding. “I don’t have the guts,” he admitted.
But now it seems he’s finally gotten over his unease. In a very recent interview, Raimi revealed that he’d finally gotten around to checking it out. And, as it turned out, he “loved” the results. Hit the jump to read his comments.
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I just love this photo of Sam Raimi sitting on the yellow brick road as he looks over storyboards and notes. I’ve had a couple chances to talk to director Sam Raimi about Oz The Great and Powerful, once on set as part of a roundtable in late 2011 and again after seeing the movie a couple weeks ago. After the jump you will get to read both interviews.
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Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful opens Friday and, so far, buzz has been generally good. The industry tracking has been even better, with some outlets projecting a near $100 million opening weekend. So it should come as no surprise that Disney has just signed Mitchell Kapner, who co-wrote the first film with David Lindsay-Abaire, to get to work on a sequel. Read More »
Before Sam Raimi set out on the gargantuan task of making Oz The Great and Powerful, he was working on two equally huge and highly-anticipated films: Spider-Man 4 and World of Warcraft. Spider-Man 4 was set to right the wrongs Raimi and crew made on the third film, but eventually he and all his stars left the project. That opened the door for Marc Webb’s reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man.
Raimi was also developing an adaptation of the popular game World of Warcraft, with an eye on directing. Eventually, he left that project too. Duncan Jones is now set to helm.
In a new interview, Raimi explained exactly why he left both those projects. Each is an interesting, but still typical story of Hollywood drama. Read More »
Sam Raimi was faced with a predicament. Two of the characters in his upcoming film Oz The Great and Powerful are completely fantastical (a flying talking monkey and a foot tall talking/walking breakable china ceramic doll) but he didn’t want to have the characters to be completely created and performed in post production, and he also didn’t want to use performance capture as it sometimes results in very robotic-looking performances.
Trust me, you will be amazed at the computer generated performances in this film. How did Raimi and team pull it off? Find out after the jump.
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Oz the Great and Powerful, Sam Raimi‘s first Disney film, is oddly two-faced. Here we have a director who made his name with low budget horror, who became a household name when he infused the superhero genre with his do-it-yourself, energetic visual style. And then there’s Oz, a massive film that gives Raimi the most toys he’s ever had to play with, but also the commitment to make a movie that’s fun for all ages. The result is a Sam Raimi movie wrapped up tightly in a Disney package. And the Raimi elements are willing themselves out.
There’s not a frame of Oz The Great and Powerful that doesn’t bear Raimi’s mark. The production design, the camera moves, the pulpy performances, everything screams his name. I mean, the movie is basically Army of Darkness, right? (Normal guy lands in magical land, is forced to go on quest to save that land.) But just when you see that kinetic, signature style starting to unleash, the story forces the film back into its Disney shell to play to the masses. We’re left with a film that’s entertaining, a little scarier than you’d expect, but extremely inconsistent. Read More »