Oz the Great and the Powerful clicked with moviegoers.
Disney's 3D prequel to the classic L. Frank Baum tale "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" debuted in first place and earned $80.3 million at the weekend box office in the U.S. and Canada and $69.9 million overseas, according to studio estimates.
Oz tells the origin of James Franco as the wizard with Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz as the trio of witches he encounters after crashing in the mystical realm of Oz.
The updated take on Oz, which was directed by original Spider-Man trilogy mastermind Sam Raimi, was a gamble that looks like it will pay off for the Walt Disney Co. The film reportedly cost $200 million and opened a week after Jack the Giant Slayer, another big-budget 3-D extravaganza that reimagines a classic tale, flopped in its opening weekend, debuting with $28 million at the box office.
Though "Scrubs" ended its impressive, nearly decade-long run three years ago, its star Zach Braff has only done a TV cameo here and there, and wowed in the little-seen 2010 Canadian drama The High Cost of Living, but his next part in Oz: The Great and Powerful will be his most visible role in years, even if he is playing a CGI monkey for most of the movie.
The actor plays mutton-chopped assistant Frank, who helps James Franco's small-time charlatan with big-time dreams pull off carnival shows in the black and white Kansas-set opening, and then turns into Oz's flying primate pal Finley when the top-hatted magician blows into the wondrous, chromatic town that bears his name.
It's a candy-coloured, 3D world that director Sam Raimi creates for the prequel to The Wizard of Oz and Braff admitted he was enchanted by the elaborate sets where he and Franco filmed many playful scenes together and, considering the dazzling visuals audiences are treated to, it's easy to see why.
We got the chance to speak with Braff about monkeying around, following the yellow brick road and what makes Raimi's Oz so great and powerful. Watch our interview now!
"I didn't want anything to do with it," Sam Raimi says when asked how he came to direct this month's Oz The Great and Powerful. "I really had so much respect for the [original] movie that I didn't want to even read it."
It's December 2012 and Raimi's sitting in the Luxe Hotel on L.A.'s famous Sunset Boulevard, seemingly relaxed and happy. As well he should be. If the 14 minutes of footage screened earlier in the day is any indication, he has one seriously good-looking film on his hands. Digging deeper into how Oz got off the ground, Raimi admits he eventually did read the script (while looking for a writer for another project), and says, "I actually fell in love with the characters in the story and I realized this does not dishonour the original Wizard of Oz movie. It's a love note to the works of Baum."
Raimi is referring to writer L. Frank Baum, who published a staggering 14 Oz novels over 20 years beginning in 1900 with "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," which became the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.
Get transported to the Emerald City and beyond as James Franco, Michelle Williams and Mila Kunis introduce us to the wonderful world of Oz in this on-set interview featurette.
When a circus magician (James Franco) gets swept away to the Land of Oz, he thinks he’s got it made thanks to a case of mistaken identity. The inhabitants of Oz think he’s the great and powerful wizard they’ve been expecting, here to rid them of their troubles. Throw in a handful of witches played by Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz, a Flying Monkey voiced by Zach Braff and you’ve got yourself one fresh take on the classic L. Frank Baum tale.
Find out what it was like filming this fantasy epic, working with director Sam Raimi and following the Yellow Brick Road in this exclusive video on the next page!
The wonderful thing about wizards is that you never know what to expect from them. Talking dolls, monkeys that fly, and a yellow brick road that leads to riches are all part of Disney’s Oz: The Great and Powerful. When a magic man (James Franco) gets whisked away in his hot air balloon to the merry old land of Oz strange and wondrous new things start to happen for him when he gets mistaken for a powerful wizard. You wouldn’t correct a beautiful witch and tell her you’re not a wizard, would you? I mean, who wouldn’t want to travel by bubble with the Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams)?
We’ve got fifteen exciting new images from the Emerald City and beyond in our Oz: The Great and Powerful photo gallery featuring Franco, Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz. Hit the jump to gain access to the gallery!
Hop aboard James Franco’s hot air balloon and fly away to Oz in the new full-length trailer for Sam Raimi’s Oz: The Great and Powerful. We get a better look at the not-so-merry old land of Oz in this new trailer which features a trio of witches: Evanora (Rachel Weisz), Theodora (Mila Kunis) and Glinda (Michelle Williams). These witches three aren’t exactly convinced he’s the great and powerful wizard from Kansas that he’s been proclaimed to be.
Raimi works some cinema magic, just like the original Wizard of Oz film, as the black and white Kansas world before expanding into a high def full colour paradise full of whimsical special effects.
Get whisked away to Oz in the trailer after the jump!
The film offers a look at Oz and its magnificent wizard years before Dorothy and Toto got sucked into that pesky tornado. James Franco stars as the con man in wizard’s robes who finds himself whisked away to Oz after a hot air balloon mishap. In the land of Oz which pre-dates cowardly ions, talking scarecrows and men made of tin, the not-so-wonderful wiz meets three witches of varying degrees of goodness. There’s Glinda the good with (Michelle Willaims), the raven-haired naive Theodora (Mila Kunis) and the sure-to-be-evil Evanora (Rachel Weisz).
Directed by Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, The Evil Dead), Oz: The Great and Powerful unleashed its first teaser trailer at Comic-Con this past weekend. Although the film takes place P.D. (Pre-Dorothy), it’s not quite a prequel to the 1939 Judy Garland classic, but rather a re-imagining of the original book by L. Frank Baum. Just don’t expect ruby slippers: they were an invention of the MGM movie, they’re the original silver, just like the book.
You can check out the trailer that debuted at Comic-Con and the photo gallery of images after the cut.
Move over Harry Potter and Gandalf, come March 2013 there'll be a new wizard in town. Actually he's not really very new at all; in fact, he's probably one of the more recognizable characters of the last hundred years. I'd wager very few of us managed to grow up without becoming quite familiar with him. But he's not what you remember.
From the mind of director Sam Raimi comes, Oz: The Great and Powerful, a new take on L. Frank Baum's classic Oz stories. Not a prequel or sequel to the film we're more familiar with, but rather a re-imagining of the original material. It stars James Franco as Oz, Michelle Williams as Glinda the Good, Rachel Weisz as Evanora and Mila Kunis as Theodorah, the Wicked Witch of the West. Raimi, Williams and Kunis were all on hand at Comic-Con today, along with moderator Chris Hardwick (aka The Nerdist), to give rapt Hall H audiences a sneak peek at their upcoming movie.
So without further ado, hot off its San Diego spotlight, here's the first trailer (courtesy of Disney) that lucky attendees viewed earlier today. Check it out and then catch the first teaser movie poster:
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