Return to Oz Revisited

(Welcome to Out of the Disney Vault, where we explore the unsung gems and forgotten disasters currently streaming on Disney+.)

Picture it: a time when the head of Walt Disney Productions said, what if we tried to appeal to more than just families? What if we make a series of boldly innovative films that challenge the notion that we only do one type of film? If that sounds incompatible with the company today, you’d be right, but this was when Ron Miller was in charge during the ‘80s, as he set out to expand the sort of films Disney produced, trying to appeal to a broader and older market. The result was a terrible decade for Disney’s box office, but a fascinating time for filmgoers.

We’ve covered how The Black Hole was sort of the beginning of a series of Disney’s dark, strange movies with a lot of ambition but poor audience reception. This came to a head in 1985 when Disney released two box office bombs that nearly ruined the company. One is an animated movie we’ll cover at some point. The other was a sequel to one of the most famous and beloved movies of all time. That’s right: it’s time to face the wheelers, tap our heels and say ‘There’s no place like a Victorian mental hospital’ as we revisit Return to Oz

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