***We're looking for contributors***

         

'Oz the Great and Powerful': James Franco Fantasy One of Biggest March Openings Ever

James Franco Oz the Great and Powerful Michelle Williams Fairy Glinda'Oz the Great and Powerful' with James Franco and Michelle Williams.

James Franco 'Oz the Great and Powerful': Below expectations, but one of biggest March openings ever

March 11, '13, update: Starring James Franco as the magician who becomes The Wizard of Oz, Sam Raimi's $200m+-budgeted Oz the Great and Powerful grossed $79.11 million at 3,912 North American locations this past weekend according to box office actuals found at Boxofficemojo.com. Although that's easily the best opening weekend so far in 2013 and one of the best March openings ever (see more details below), Oz the Great and Powerful fell short of the $80–$85 million mark some had been expecting following Friday/late Thursday estimates of $24 million. Distributor Walt Disney Studios, for its part, (officially) expected at most $74 million – an obviously much too modest prediction that was bound to be surpassed. (Image: James Franco in Oz the Great and Powerful, with Michelle Williams as the Good Fairy Glinda.)

Here are a few comparisons to Oz the Great and Powerful's box office performance: In March 2012, the PG-rated animated 3D feature Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, featuring the voices of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Taylor Swift, and Betty White, debuted with $70.21 million. Two years earlier, Tim Burton's Disney-distributed 3D fantasy Alice in Wonderland, featuring Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, and Anne Hathaway, scored a phenomenal $116.1 million on its first weekend out – largely assisted by the fact that Alice in Wonderland was the first major 3D release (though actually shot in 2D) since James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar. In fact, according to Box Office Mojo's Ray Subers, 3D represented 70 percent of Alice in Wonderland's initial box office take vs. 53 percent for Oz the Great and Powerful this past weekend.

Another 3D Disney entry, the PG-13-rated, Andrew Stanton-directed John Carter, starring Taylor Kitsch, opened in March 2012, earning a mere $30.18 million. Without the assistance of 3D surcharges, Rupert Sanders' more adult-oriented Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron, took in a better than expected $56.21 million on its debut weekend in June last year. And the weekend before last, Bryan Singer's $195 million-budgeted Jack and the Giant Slayer, starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, raked in a disastrous $27.2 million. (Compounding matters, Jack and the Giant Slayer was down a whopping 63 percent this weekend, undoubtedly as a direct result of competition from Oz the Great and Powerful.)

Oz the Great and Powerful: One of the biggest March openings ever

Oz the Great and Powerful may have failed to meet expectations this past weekend, but it has easily surpassed every other debut weekend at the U.S. and Canada box office so far this year. In fact, Oz the Great and Powerful grossed more in its first three days (plus late night Thursday screenings) than nearly all other domestic 2013 releases have earned during their entire run to date. The single exception is the Melissa McCarthy / Jason Bateman comedy Identity Thief which currently has a $116.54 million cume.

Not adjusted for inflation, Oz the Great and Powerful boasts the third biggest March opening ever, trailing only Gary Ross' The Hunger Games, a futuristic adventure in 2D starring Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth, and which collected $152.53 million, and the aforementioned Alice in Wonderland. Once inflation is taken into account – as it always should, to better reflect actual ticket sales – Oz the Great and Powerful drops one spot, falling behind Zack Snyder's 300; adjusted for inflation, the pseudo-historical war epic featuring Gerard Butler, Dominic West, and Michael Fassbender collected approximately $83 million.

Also of note: Apart from the three Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man movies, Oz the Great and Powerful had by far (even when factoring in inflation) the best domestic opening of a James Franco movie. The runner-up is Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with $54.8 million in August 2011.

Internationally, Oz the Great and Powerful took in an estimated $69.9 million.

James Franco leads Oz the Great and Powerful cast

Besides James Franco, a Best Actor Academy Award nominee for Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful features Mila Kunis (Black Swan, Friends with Benefits) as Theodora, Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (for Fernando Meirelles' The Constant Gardener, and recently seen opposite Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy) as Evanora, and three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn) as the Good Fairy Glinda (played by Billie Burke in the 1939 version). Also in the Oz the Great and Powerful cast: Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, and Joey King.

David Lindsay-Abaire (Rise of the Guardians, Rabbit Hole) and Mitchell Kapner (Days of Wrath, The Whole Nine Yards) received credit for the Oz the Great and Powerful screenplay. The producer of this latest big-budget fantasy adventure is Joe Roth, whose credits include the aforementioned Alice in Wonderland and Snow White and the Huntsman, in addition to Robert Stromberg's upcoming fantasy Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, and the Tom Cruise / Cameron Diaz actioner Knight and Day (which, despite its title, is not a fantasy movie).

Like most of its fellow fantasy movies, Oz the Great and Powerful hasn't been warmly embraced by critics. Sam Raimi's film currently has a mediocre 5.1/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics and 45/100 rating at metacritic.com.

Oz the Great and Powerful James Franco, Michelle Williams photo: Merie Weismiller Wallace / Walt Disney Enterprises.

Feb. 9

James Franco Oz the Great and Powerful Michelle WilliamsJames Franco Oz the Great and Powerful box office: $80-85 million by Sunday evening? (Above, Franco with Michelle Williams)

Starring James Franco as the eventual Wizard of Oz, Oz the Great and Powerful may reach $85 million at the U.S. and Canada box office this weekend – that would be one of the biggest March openings ever. According to Disney estimates, the Sam Raimi-directed fantasy adventure took in $24.11 million at 3,912 locations on Friday, including $2 million from late Thursday and midnight screenings. Disney itself is (officially) expecting at most $74 million – perhaps so once Oz the Great and Powerful reaches $80 million the studio can claim their The Wizard of Oz prequel “overperformed.” (Image: Oz the Great and Powerful James Franco, Michelle Williams as the Good Fairy Glinda.)

For comparison's sake: Last March, another 3D PG-rated entry, the animated Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, featuring the voices of Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, and Taylor Swift, opened with $17.52 million on Friday, going on to collect $70.21 million by Sunday evening. Starring Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska, Tim Burton's 3D fantasy Alice in Wonderland raked in an astounding $40.8 million on its first day out in March 2010, ultimately scoring $116.1 million on its debut weekend.

Now, Disney's own John Carter, which opened in March 2012, isn't a very good comparison to Oz the Great and Powerful, as the PG-13 adventure sci-fier was perceived as a teen / young adult flick instead of a “family movie,” i.e., a movie made for little children whose parents or “guardians” are obligated to take to theaters (and to buy them popcorn, tooth-rotting sodas and candy, etc.). For the record, whereas The Lorax quadrupled its Friday take on its first weekend out, John Carter managed to only triple its $9.81 million Friday gross.

Alice in Wonderland, for its part, failed to even triple its Friday earnings. Having said that, one must bear in mind that its $40.8 million gross on a single day clearly meant the Burton movie was quite frontloaded. It's nearly impossible for a movie to maintain such high level of interest; just look at the opening Friday/opening weekend ratios of Joss Whedon's The Avengers, the Kristen Stewart / Robert Pattinson Twilight movies, and Daniel Radcliffe's Harry Potter movies.

In other words, Oz the Great and Powerful's more modest beginning gives it the chance to soar on Saturday and have a cushioned drop on Sunday. We'll see if that's what happens when domestic weekend box office actuals are released on Monday.

Of note: Oz the Great and Powerful currently has a mediocre 5.1/10 average rating among Rotten Tomatoes' top critics.

Whether or not Oz the Great and Powerful reaches the $85 million mark, it will certainly surpass every other debut at the North American box office this year. In fact, Oz the Great and Powerful will in all likelihood gross more on its first weekend than nearly all other domestic 2013 releases have earned during their entire run. The one exception is the Melissa McCarthy / Jason Bateman comedy Identity Thief which to date has an estimated $112 million cume. Barring a catastrophic Saturday and Sunday for Oz the Great and Powerful, the Jessica Chastain thriller Mama, currently with a $70.96 million cume, shouldn't be a real threat.

Oz the Great and Powerful vs. Jack the Giant Slayer, Snow White and the Huntsman

Here are a couple more comparisons in the fantasy / adventure genre: Starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, Bryan Singer's $195 million-budgeted Jack and the Giant Slayer scored a measly $27.2 million when it opened last weekend. Partly thanks to competition from Oz the Great and Powerful, Singer's 3D film plummeted 67 percent this past Friday, collecting only $2.52 million. Jack and the Giant Slayer's cume after 8 days stands at $36.3m; Oz the Great and Powerful should be able to earn about that much today.

And last spring, Snow White and the Huntsman, Rupert Sanders' adult-oriented 2D revamping of the old fairy tale earned a better than expected $56.21 million on its debut weekend. The film starred Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron.

Oz the Great and Powerful James Franco image: Merie Weismiller Wallace / Walt Disney Enterprises.

Oz the Great and Powerful Cast Michelle Williams Glinda'Oz the Great and Powerful' with Michelle Williams as Glinda.

Oz the Great and Powerful cast includes Michelle Williams as Glinda

In addition to 2010 Best Actor Oscar nominee James Franco (127 Hours), Sam Raimi's Oz the Great and Powerful features Mila Kunis (Black Swan) as Theodora, Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener, recently seen opposite Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy) as Evanora, three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn) as the Good Fairy Glinda (played by Billie Burke in the 1939 version), plus Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, and Joey King. (Image: Michelle Williams as Glinda in Oz the Great and Powerful.)

David Lindsay-Abaire (Rise of the Guardians, Rabbit Hole) and Mitchell Kapner (Days of Wrath, The Whole Nine Yards) were credited for the Oz the Great and Powerful screenplay. The film's producer is Joe Roth, whose credits include Tim Burton / Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland and Rupert Sanders / Kristen Stewart's Snow White and the Huntsman (both compared to Oz the Great and Powerful's [potential] opening weekend box office figures in the preceding article), in addition to Robert Stromberg's upcoming fantasy Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, and the Tom Cruise / Cameron Diaz actioner Knight and Day.

Oz the Great and Powerful has its gargantuan budget set somewhere between $200 million and $215 million, depending on the source. That figure doesn't include marketing and distribution expenses, which have reportedly added close to $100 million to the film's total cost.

The Wizard of Oz movies

Among the several movie versions of L. Frank Baum's novel The Wizard of Oz are a 1910 short featuring future silent film star Bebe Daniels as Dorothy; a 1925 feature directed by comedian Larry Semon (who does double duty as the Scarecrow), and featuring Dorothy Dwan as Dorothy, Charles Murray as the Wizard, and a pre-stardom Oliver Hardy in a supporting role; and MGM's 1939 musical directed by Gone with the Wind's Victor Fleming, and starring Judy Garland as Dorothy and featuring Frank Morgan as the Wizard. (Check out Judy Garland's son and grandchildren at The Wizard of Oz screening.)

Curiously, though a major hit – approx. $3 million (about $105 million today*) in rentals (money that went into MGM's coffers) – The Wizard of Oz was initially perceived as a box office disappointment when compared to its costly $2.77 million (approx. $46 million today*) budget.

* The $2.77 million figure (found on various websites) doesn't include marketing and distribution expenses worldwide. The $3 million figure apparently represents worldwide rentals. The updated $105 million figure is based on the National Association of Theater Owners' yearly domestic ticket-cost averages; those, especially for decades-old movies that earned much (or most) of their grosses from pricier first-run houses in major urban centers, aren't 100 percent reliable. (See also: “Robert Zemeckis not to direct The Wizard of Oz remake.”)

Oz the Great and Powerful Michelle Williams photo: Merie Weismiller Wallace / Walt Disney Enterprises.

Feb. 8

Oz the Great and Powerful James FrancoOz the Great and Powerful weekend box office: James Franco star vehicle to boast best opening of 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful is about to have the best opening weekend of 2013 at the North American box office – by a wide margin. Part of the reason for the Oz the Great and Powerful feat is this year's dismal box office figures to date: if, as expected, the 3D fantasy directed by Spider-Man's Sam Raimi, and starring James Franco (also of Spider-Man fame) in the title role, manages to gross around $80 million from 3,912 locations by Sunday evening, that'll place it ahead of the cumulative grosses of all but one 2013 release, the Melissa McCarthy / Jason Bateman comedy Identity Thief ($110.21 million to date). (Image: Oz the Great and Powerful James Franco.)

Oz the Great and Powerful took in an estimated $2 million at Thursday evening and midnight screenings. It's expected to earn approximately $23m-25 million today (apparently that includes the Thursday showings), according to Deadline.com. Now, bear in mind that those are very early, rough estimates; those figures could change quite a bit by the time Disney releases its own Friday estimate on Saturday morning.

Oz the Great and Powerful vs. Alice in Wonderland, Jack the Giant Slayer, Snow White and the Huntsman

For comparison's sake: Tim Burton's own 3D fantasy, Alice in Wonderland, starring Mia Wasikowska and Johnny Depp, earned $3.9 million at midnight screenings in March 2010, raking in an astounding $116.1 million in its first three days out. Another 3D entry, Bryan Singer's Jack and the Giant Slayer, didn't fare nearly as well: starring Nicholas Hoult and Ewan McGregor, the $195 million-budgeted fantasy adventure took in a measly $27.2 million when it opened last weekend.

Of note: Last spring, Rupert Sanders' darker, more adult-oriented 2D Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, and Charlize Theron, collected, without the assistance of 3D surcharges, $1.55 million at midnight screenings, grossing $56.21 million by Sunday evening.

Oz the Great and Powerful budget, cast

Oz the Great and Powerful reportedly cost anywhere between $200 millionand $215 million, depending on the source, and not including marketing and distribution expenses. Besides 2010 Best Actor Oscar nominee James Franco (127 Hours), the prequel to The Wizard of Oz features Mila Kunis (Black Swan), three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Blue Valentine, My Week with Marilyn), Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener), in addition to Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, and Joey King.

Mitchell Kapner (Days of Wrath) and David Lindsay-Abaire (Rise of the Guardians, Rabbit Hole) are credited for the screenplay. The Oz the Great and Powerful producer is Joe Roth, among whose credits are the aforementioned Alice in Wonderland and Snow White and the Huntsman, in addition to Robert Stromberg's upcoming fantasy Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning.

In the last couple of days, Oz the Great and Powerful also opened in most major international territories, including Mexico, Spain, Australia, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

The Wizard of Oz movie versions

There have been several movie versions of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz, including a 1910 short featuring future silent film star Bebe Daniels as Dorothy; a 1925 feature directed by comedian Larry Semon (who also plays the Scarecrow), and featuring Dorothy Dwan as Dorothy, Charles Murray as the Wizard, and Oliver Hardy in a supporting role; and MGM's 1939 classic directed by Gone with the Wind's Victor Fleming, and starring Judy Garland as Dorothy and featuring Frank Morgan as the Wizard. (It's hard to imagine James Franco evolving into Frank Morgan, but I'm assuming stranger things have happened.)

Oz the Great and Powerful James Franco photo: Walt Disney Enterprises.


         
If you liked the article 'Oz the Great and Powerful': James Franco Fantasy One of Biggest March Openings Ever, please recommend it to your friends and/or follow Alt Film Guide on social media. See share/follow buttons above.

Continue Reading: 'Dead Man Down' Is Major Colin Farrell Bomb & Pedro Almodóvar Biggest Hits

Previous Post: MTV Movie Awards 2013 Nominations: TWILIGHT Fades, TWC Rises

'Oz the Great and Powerful': James Franco Fantasy One of Biggest March Openings Ever © 2004–2017 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about ''Oz the Great and Powerful': James Franco Fantasy One of Biggest March Openings Ever'

UPDATED COMMENTING RULES: Our articles and/or other people's comments infuriate you?

Well, here's the good news: It's perfectly okay to disagree with our own and/or other commenters' views and opinions.

But ... *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative.

In other words: Add something reasonable & coherent to the discussion.

Spammy, abusive, bigoted, baseless (spreading misinformation), trollish/inflammatory, and/or just plain demented comments will be zapped and offenders may be banned.

Also, bear in mind that links found in comments will generally be deleted.

Most recent comments listed on top.

3 Comments to 'Oz the Great and Powerful': James Franco Fantasy One of Biggest March Openings Ever

  1. jlo

    James Franco clearly did Oz the Great and Powerful for the money. Franco shows no interest in his character. He's so much better in his smaller, independent movies.

  2. jasper johns

    “Oz the Great and Powerful” is all smoke and no mirrors, no fantasy, just effects without affect. To be honest, more like Oz the Amiable and Un-threatening. The best, funniest Oz thing I've read lately is DA YELLER BRICK ROAD, a revisionist telling of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Uncle Remus. The conceit is it was originally by Remus (who didn't exist) and then “borrowed and cleaned-up” by Baum. Hilarious and charming. All that “Oz the Great and Powerful” is not.

  3. Liv

    There's no comparison between The Wizard of Oz and Oz The Great and Powerful. The Wizard of Oz has meaning and truth. It had no technology like we have today. It's a pure classical that will live on. Oz The Great and Powerful, I hope, was not trying to be compared anyway. It will be just another movie, a wanna be. I tried to appreciate it, and I did somewhat with all the interesting scenery, but it just doesn't and will never touch my heart in the same way. Maybe now people will appreciate the classics more (younger people in particular).