After a nearly two-year wait, the world is getting its first glimpse of “Oz: The Great and Powerful,”director Sam Raimi's 3D prequel to the iconic book and movie.
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Raimi's adaptation will star James Franco as Oscar Diggs and Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis as the three witches.
“Oz's” synopsis reads:
“When Oscar Diggs (Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking ... that is until he meets the witches Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz), and Glinda (Michelle Williams) who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity, and even a bit of wizardry, Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.”
In development, “Oz” was linked to filmmaker Tim Burton, who was said to be considering Johnny Depp for the role of Diggs, though that collaboration never panned out. After also vetting directors Sam Mendes and Adam Shankman, studio execs arrived upon Raimi, who will reunite with Franco for the first time since the pair completed the “Spiderman Trilogy.”
For Disney, the hope is that “Oz” will follow in the same tracks as movies like Tim Burton's “Alice in Wonderland,” which raked in over $1 billion at the box office.
The time seems to be right for revisionist fantasy tales. In addition to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Snow White” adaptations have been similarly successful, while rethought “Hansel and Gretel” and “Jack the Giant Killer” films are also on the way.
"Oz: The Great and Powerful" is set to be released nationwide on March 8.