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A new 'Wizard of Oz' could make its way down the Hollywood road

March 9, 2010 |  5:00 pm

Oz
EXCLUSIVE: Fresh off Disney's massive success with Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," Warner Bros. wants to remake another childhood classic. Like, really classic.

The studio is examining two existing "Wizard of Oz" projects, with an eye toward giving one of them a modern gloss and moving it toward the screen.

One project, called "Oz," currently lives at Warner's New Line label. It's being produced by Temple Hill, which is behind a little franchise called "Twilight," and has a script written by Darren Lemke, a writer on the upcoming "Shrek Forever After."

A second "Wizard of Oz" project, set up at Warners proper, skews a little darker -- it's written by "A History of Violence" screenwriter Josh Olson and focuses on a granddaughter of Dorothy who returns to Oz to fight evil. "Clash of the Titans" producer Basil Iwanyk and his Thunder Road Pictures are behind that one. ("Spawn" creator Todd MacFarlane is potentially involved in a producerial capacity, to give you some idea of the tone.)

While the idea of a new "Wizard of Oz" movie is said to be in the development, let's-bat-this-around stage, it's been advanced seriously enough on the lot that representatives for some of the top directors around Hollywood have been briefed.

The Judy Garland-starring "The Wizard of Oz" from 1939 -- we could give you the refresher on witches, tin men, Dorothy and everyone else, but really, do we need to? -- has been given alternative treatments before. There was the 1978 black-themed film adaptation of the stage play "The Wiz." And of course about six years ago came the Broadway adaptation of Gregory Maguire's "Wicked," an alternative story of girls, witches and  Emerald City politics. The property proved a huge stage hit, prompting a film version that's in development at Universal and "Wanted" producer Marc Platt.

Audiences are likely to respond to the idea of a new silver screen "Wizard of Oz" with gusto ("at least the first one was good," said one colleague we told) or with horror, precisely because the original is such a classic.

WizBut for Warners, there's plenty of appeal in trying to take the story of Dorothy & Co. back to the big screen. For one, there's the bonkers $210 million global opening for "Alice," which shows that if you're trying to create a mega-blockbuster, one smart way to do it is to take a title people know and update it for the effects era. And there's a neat symmetry, since the Technicolor version of the classic film did for color in the movies what a lot of people say that "Avatar," "Alice" -- and now, perhaps, "Wizard" -- could do for 3-D in the movies.

With its Harry Potter series drawing to an end, Warners also likes the idea of a franchise, and "Wizard of Oz" and the many books L. Frank Baum wrote featuring many of the same characters (all of which are in the public domain) fit the bill nicely. And let's not forget the property's strong, young female protagonist, hugely in vogue now in the post -Twilight" and -"Alice" eras.

There could still be questions about the project's title (the book's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is in the public domain but the movie's "The Wizard of Oz" is not; it's owned by MGM, whose library is partly owned by Warner Bros.). And then there's the matter of whether filmmakers would make the movie with musical elements, as the original, of course, did. Those questions aside, it could be the moneymaking formula.

Follow the yellow brick road. It's strewn with CGI, tent poles and 3-D. And, of course, a little green.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photos: Scenes from "The Wizard of Oz." Credit: Warner Bros./Turner Entertainment


 
Comments () | Archives (84)

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MGM ruined the story of Oz! Someone needs to make the movie the way L. Frank Baum had intended. I would love to see a new Oz movie because no one can screw it up like MGM did. It is a classic but it sucks compared to what it could have been.

This would be a disaster! It's like remaking Gone With the Wind, it's just not right.

I say yes, I personally loved the remake of Alice in Wonderland. GIVE IT A CHANCE GUYS! :'D<3

NO! Do not remake the film its a stupid stupid idea! This movie was a classic and i first saw it when i was 6. There is no reason that kids cant just watch the same movie that we all saw. It was an amazing movie and there are too many movies being remade as it is!

PLEASE DO NOT RUIN ANYMORE CLASSIC MOVIES, HOLLYWOOD!!! As a true fan of the original I WILL NOT spend my money to go see it in the movies nor would I disrespect the original by seeing it!! I don't care how many big name actors you get to put in it!! STOP messing with the good stuff!!! It's not funny anymore & the true fans of the movie will not go see a remake!! KNOCK IT OFF!!!

Kevin James as the Lion, Adam Sandler as the scarecrow, Will Smith as the Tin Man and Selena Gomez as Dorothy.

I think that remaking the clasic is GREAT idea!!!
Leave the script alone just get Tim Burton to make the setting and scene amazing!!!! You will never beat the classic, but with a real D film would be amazing. My personl opinion would to get Tim Burton and James Cameron together. Thats when the film would be astonishing. New actors will be hard to find... but could be done. I would pay money to see it!!!!!!

yes remake the dame film. the old people are dying so remake the classics. I can't stand to watch the old film more than once in a decade, time to move on. It will be damn awesome but lets stick the books unlike the original film.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is ridiculous. Don't twist the movie all around. They want to remake it fine, don't change anything about it. All the dialouge, the story line, the songs, should all remain. Use new people and a new set, but for the love of all that is good, PLEASE DON'T CHANGE THIS MOVIE FROM A CLASSIC TO GARBAGE!!!!!!!!

NO DO NOT RUIN ANOTHER COOL OLD MOVIE! THEIR IS A LINE IN A SONG BY NEIL YOUNG. " IT IS OLD, BUT IT IS GOOD".


HOLLYWOODS NEW PRODUCERS HAVE NO GENIUS IN THEIR HEADS. NOT THAT THEY EVER DID. LOOK AT THE LIST OF REMAKES.

REMAKING A MOVIE CLASSIC ONLY KILLS IT. LOOK AT WHAT HAPPENED TO ALICE IN WONDERLAND. THE AUTOR OF THIS ARTICLE STATES,
"Disney's massive success with Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," ...
...MASSIVE SUCCESS????
TIM BURTON TURNED A SWEET,CHARMING A BIT FAROUT (not as far as Burtons brain is) LITTLE FAIRY TALE INTO A HORROR SHOW CIRCUS, FOR GODS SAKE!

YOUNG PRODUCERS OF HOLLYWOOD TAKE NOTE!
STOP TRYING TO PROVE YOUR CREATIVITY IS PARAMOUNT TO THESE OLD CLASSICS BY THINKING YOU CAN MAKE IT BETTER.

IT IS ONLY YOUR TAINTED FEVERED EGO THAT DRIVES YOU THERE.

TRY TO BE MORE CREATIVE BY ACTUALLY COIMNG UP WITH SOMETHING ORIGINAL.(Wow, what a concept, original?)
STOP STEALING SOMEONE ELSES GREAT CREATIVITY SO YOU CAN TAG IT YOUR OWN. IT WAS NEVER YOURS. IT WILL NEVER BE YOURS. AT BEST IT WILL BE AN ADOPTION OF THEIRS!

THAT IS, OF COURSE, IF YOU WANT TO REALLY TRULY SAY THAT YOU ARE ORIGINAL AND CREATIVE-

THEN AGAIN, WHAT AM I THINKING. I FORGOT HOLLYWOOD IS ONLY MAYBE 2% ABOUT ORIGINAL CREATIVE ARTISTIC EXPRESSION.
THE OTHER 98% IS ABOUT CREATING SOMETHING THAT AUDIENCES WITH SHELL OUT THEIR HARDER STILL EARNED $$ TO SEE SO THAT SOME EGO TAINTED OVER PAID EXECUTIVES THAT CALL THEMSELVES "PRODUCERS" (huh?) CAN PRETEND THEY HAVE ACHIEVED SOME LAME "GREATNESS" IN THER SLIGHTED BRAIN, AS THEY USE THEIR GROSSLY OVER INFLATED PAYCHECKS TO PAY FOR THEIR PEROXIDE BOTTLE BOTOX AND SALINE PUMPED BRAINLESS VAIN DEBUTANT GIRLFRIENDS TO BOP ABOUT BRENTWOOD, BEVERLY HILLS AND MALIBU ACTING LIKE THEY ARRIVED.

WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!!

LEAVE IT THE HELL ALONE !

Aren't there any Hollywood writers anymore ?

leave the classics alone !

PLEASE NO!!!!!!! This classic is a classic and will always stay a classic if you make a "new" one all of the classic fans will probably hate you (like i do) SO if you make a new one (if you have any fans) Like i said there gonna hate chu there gonna hate chu

Oh and Wizard the Oz is my favorite movie and if make a new one i will still love it the same sooo even though a new one will come out in probably a uh 10 years i still will always love the classic the classic is the best and i dont wanna see it flushed down the toilet just for a new one thats classic JUNK anyways ( oh and you are classic junk too) Okay bye loser

I get the feeling that most of the people defending their "beloved classic" have never actually read the OZ series of books, as the classic film is not even close to the original literature.

They should use the girl from the new True Grit to play Dorothy. Just keep Tim burton's wife out of it is he does the movie...

make a new wizard of oz
i think is a great idea and i loved they have to make a great movie trailer

i love the idea

I want people to stop screwing around with L Frank Baum's property. I don't care who they "sold" it to or who is wife "sold" it to. There IS such a thing as artistic property that cannot be bought, borrowed, or bullied out of people. Wicked is non-canonical. Let it die and I will support the 14 OZ stories.

I've been waiting for a remake, hoping it follows the amazing story in the original book this time - a MUCH richer story that the 1939 film version that left so much out in order to have the singing. Also the 1939 subplot about her dream, fever and the witch/neighbour who wanted to take Toto, is NOT in the book that was written by Frank Baum. In the original version Dorothy really does go to Oz - she doesn't dream it. The "dream" subplot simply reflects early 20th century "modernism" where a fantasy like Oz had to be explained by a dream or it lost credibility. But now we love fantasies that "really happen" - so please, please make this a good one based on the witty and richly woven Frank Baum version!


A portrait of creative bankruptcy.

i wouldlike to see a remake of Jim Henson's "Labyrinth"

its a movie not the bible. what doesnt work for one person might for someone else, get over it.

i dont know, they shud but keep it classic. the old effects r annoying, there all plastic and i drives me in sane. they neeed to re make it but keep it the movie everyone loves.

if they tried to remake something as timeless and classic as the wizard of oz, that would just be a new low, even for unoriginal hollywood. if they remake the wizard of oz, nothing is off limits. remakes of gone with the wind, citizen kane and casablanca are sure to follow.

 
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