Okay, yeah. Too many fucking Oz projects floating around right now. We’re used to dueling projects based off of similar concepts, but this is getting ridiculous.
Right now Sam Raimi’s Oz, The Great and Powerful is the apparent head of the pack of what is becoming a possible wave of failed Oz projects. The past few months have seen tons of rumors, whispers, and announcements of Oz-based projects that have ranged from sequels, prequels, to out-and-out remakes. You have to keep in mind that some of these rumors are likely variations on the same news coming from different insiders in the same studio, and that even more of these are saber-rattling developments that will never roll a camera, much less play a theater. That said, at least a few of these damn things are going to make it out of the gate, and Corpse Bride director Mike Johnson intends to make his fast and cheap stop-motion Oz Wars one of them.
Coming from Variety, the word is that Vanguard film will use “new stop-motion software” to make what I assume is a stop-motion styled CGI film (a la Flushed Away) based on the Oz world yet set in a contemporary setting filled with “warrior witches, black magic, martial arts, and monsters.”
John Williams (the Vanguard Films president, not the composer, nor the really cool guy I knew in college) describes the project as “dark, slick, sexy, and dangerous,” yet it will be produced in a fashion that will make it extraordinarily cheap it seems.
From the sound of synopsis, it seems like this is another wildly divergent Oz concept that may as been done as its own thing, but has been pigeon-holed into riding on a bankable franchise name. That may or may not backfire on the company if the Oz concept gets worn out by all of these projects, but I think they may be playing smart with this one. It’s unlikely seven Oz films are going to make it out there, but if one or two get into theaters and light up any kind of interest in that world, then a cheaply made and quirky stop-motion film could pull in a buck.
When the dust settles on all of this Oz development and rumor-mongering I’m sure we’re going to be left with the simple picture of one big-budget studio premakequel (or whatever), and perhaps one or two smaller satellite films, including this one. The rate at which the studios have lit up with the idea of mining the property all at once is worthy of much eye-rolling though.