Sam Raimi’s new take on the old Wizard of Oz, Oz: The Great and Powerful is taking heads at the box office right now and receiving some generally favorable reviews. It’s been successful enough, in fact, to warrant putting a sequel in the works with plans of a third not far off. Now, in the latest Oz-related news, a bit about what not to expect in the sequel and the rise of a not-so-friendly rivalry between Disney and the original Wizard of Oz rights’ owners, Warner Bros.
Check out all the fun-filled details after the jump…
With the sequel to Oz: The Great and Powerful a near-definite thing for Disney’s future, people are naturally wondering where they might take the story next. And though the land of Oz is a big place and when this first film leaves off the titular Oz is still rather young, people still want to know if Disney plans on bringing Dorothy into the mix.
Official confirmation from producer Joe Roth has thankfully ended this speculation. He has made it plain that they have more than 20 years to play with in the storyline and so there will be no Dorothy. Personally, I’m happy with the decision. If you want to see Dorothy, go watch the original.
Which leads to the next story…
On another note, Warner Bros. and Disney are gearing up for a potential beef about Oz rights. As most know, WB owns the rights to the original film. They do not, however, own the rights to the source material. Thus Disney and Sam Raimi were able to construct their own tale as long as it didn’t infringe upon anything that WB introduced. They were pretty anal about it, even going so far as to make sure the color of the Wicked Witch wasn’t the same shade of green as in the original. These small but important details helped Disney avoid the lawsuit that WB was no doubt eager to throw down to grab up a chunk of that box office cash.
But matters are more complicated than that. It appears that Warner Bros. has their own plans for more Oz flicks, building off of what they did with The Wizard of Oz. They have three film ideas in development, though they’re currently nowhere near to being ready to go.
Now that Oz: The Great and Powerful has demonstrated box office superiority, the rivalry may get fiercer. WB is pushing their own rights to the property via some merchandising and the development of a TV show. With cash being made, it might prompt them to put the gas on the projects they have and lead to an Oz-centric contest between them and Disney to see who can collect the most coin. This will inevitably lead to some legal struggles.
If audiences prove receptive to a steady stream of Oz-themed film and TV, it could get complicated. Though I’m sure that both companies’ lawyers will be getting fat off the struggle.
Thanks to /film for the heads-up.