Disney is looking to heat up a so-far tepid year at the box office with its VFX-heavy reimagining Oz: The Great and Powerful.
Directed by Sam Raimi, who turned Spider-Man into a billion-dollar movie franchise, Oz: The Great and Powerful looks poised to be a box office powerhouse with industry expectations ranging as high as an $85 million opening-weekend domestic gross. Expect the domestic take to be multiplied several times by a global day-and-date release and high anticipation among audiences.
The film itself is a CG-heavy, 3D prequel to the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, starring James Franco as a young circus magician whisked away to Oz and uses his talents to become the wizard. The film also stars Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz. Reviews so far have been mixed as of Thursday afternoon, with the movie earning a 60 percent “Fresh” rating at RottenTomatoes.com, and a mixed score of 44 out of 100 on Metacritic.
Oz features visual effects work from Sony Pictures Imageworks, With A Twist Studio, Evil Eye Pictures, New Deal Studios, Method Studios, The Third Floor, KNB EFX, Luma Pictures, Digiscope and Gentle Giant Studios.
Oz is opening wide in about 3,900 theaters, the vast majority of them 3D screens. It also is getting an IMAX release, on some 300 screens using the large format.
The other major release of the week is Dead Man Down, a thriller starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace, opening in around 2,200 cinemas.
Holdovers include Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer and the animated feature Escape from Planet Earth.