I was recently asked why if Disney Oz The Great and Powerful isn’t performing up to Disney Studios expectations have they already started working on a sequel? First off, working on a sequel and going into production are two different things. But secondly, Disney does have some amazing expectations for the Oz franchise. Heck Imagineering has already built a model of the Emerald City with expectations of adding it as a whole new land to a certain theme park.
According to BoxOfficeMojo, at $453 million so far, Oz is performing well versus other films released at the same time and versus previous years, but it’s disappointing when compared to the success of Tim Burton’s billion dollar box office hit Alice in Wonderland. Alice’s numbers were the stretch goal (aka best possible scenario) for Oz. I think Disney would have been happy to have reached 70 or 80 percent of Alice, but right now, it’s on trajectory for just over 50 percent.
The world of Oz, as created by L. Frank Baum, is rich enough to have spurred dozens of additional works by authors and artists beyond the 14 original books. But none of those works dealt with how the Wizard himself arrived in the land of Oz.
Much like the 1939 film, Disney Oz The Great and Powerful opens in black and white (Well the Wizard of Oz was more Sepia toned). It focuses on the backstory of Oscar Diggs, a traveling carnival magician and con-man, and sets him up as a good man who has just strayed from the path of righteousness while consumed by his search for success. Also like the first movie, we’re introduced to actors who will later reappear in the film in the guise of other characters giving Oz (and the viewers) some touchstones to help stay grounded when the goings get wild.
The version of Oz created for this movie is amazing. We get a look at it when Oz crashes his hot air balloon and again when they’re on the Yellow Brick Road. However, I wish they had spent more time exploring its otherworldly aspects.
A few lucky preview audiences have already seen Oz the Great and Powerful. While I’ve been avoiding spoiler reviews, I had read that the production is at least on par with Alice in Wonderland. That should be a good sign for Disney, since Alice did over a billion at the box office.
As the release date of March 8 approaches, Disney’s marketing efforts are reaching a fever pitch. Here are two clips from the film that I think, hope, shows what a great film we can look forward to: