This weekend marks the watershed moment in 2013 when the box office will finally lift some boats around the nation’s multiplexes. That’s thanks to Disney’s “Oz: the Great and Powerful,” which is expected to deliver some $80 million, which means that other struggling movies in theaters such as “Jack the Giant Slayer” might actually reap some side benefits.
Disney is so confident in Sam Raimi’s “Oz” (despite its mixed reviews) that a sequel to the prequel is already in the works. Those who have read all the L. Frank Baum “Oz” books know that there are many fabulous characters untapped in most “Oz” movie adaptations. Bring back “Return to Oz”‘s Tik-Tok, Princess Ozma and Jack Pumpkinhead (yes, Tim Burton knows these books well)! Disney can use anything from the books that are in the public domain (munchkins, Emerald City, poppies, yellow brick road), but not specifics introduced in the 1939 MGM “The Wizard of Oz” such as Dorothy Gale’s ruby slippers and “there’s no place like home.” (In the book Gale wore silver shoes.)
“The Wizard of Oz” is about to celebrate its 75th anniversary, which brings an updated edition of Aljean Harmetz’s must-read classic “The Making of the Wizard of Oz,” crammed with facts about the turbulent production which was a legendary flop at the time. Hard to believe. Harmetz fills in ABC News on details of the movie, from its multiple writers and directors to the iconic song “Over the Rainbow” almost not making the final cut.
Meanwhile, Comic-Con fave Mila Kunis (“Black Swan”), who plays one of the new picture’s three witches (we’re supposed to guess which is the wicked one above), has become movie fans’ latest actress du jour, after trying to help out an awkward Brit interviewer (viral clip below). One of the ways performers earn their inflated salaries is by gracefully suffering through often idiotic junket interviews (assemblage of awkward interviews below).
Kunis and recent Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence bring authenticity and charm to the art of being a star–an increasingly crucial component to an actor’s quiver of skills in a viral world where every moment is magnified many times over. Thus it helps to be a genuinely winning personality–as opposed to a fabricated and entitled one. Vulture examines the difference.