Oz The Great And Powerful On Track For $80 Million Debut
It was a rough weekend for fantasy, as Jack the Giant Slayer took the top of the box office with a paltry $28 million, falling behind even the much-publicized flop John Carter from this time last year. But somehow Disney is planning to follow-up Jack's failure with their own high-fantasy effort, and one that's on track to do way, way better with audiences.
According to the early tracking numbers over at Deadline, Oz The Great And Powerful is currently on track for a huge $80 million weekend. That's not quite as much as Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, the clear inspiration for Disney jumping into production on Oz, but still more than enough to make it the biggest opening of 2013 so far. At this point if you're not aware of Oz you haven't been paying attention. The marketing blitz, which cost as much as $100 million according to Deadline, has put the movie absolutely everywhere, and this isn't even one of those cases of a studio overspending on a movie they know isn't any good (like, uh, John Carter). Though the review embargo technically doesn't lift until later this week, a handful of early reviews are largely positive.
The success of Oz ought to cement what Disney is hoping will be a very successful formula: take a familiar story or fairy tale, put a powerful director and some major stars behind it, set up a visually elaborate and colorful world, market fairly heavily to women, and rake in the cash. It worked with the $1 billion-grossing Alice in Wonderland, it ought to work with Oz, and they'll hoping it'll work with the upcoming Sleeping Beauty revision Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie, and then the Cinderella film with Emma Watson in talks. Essentially, Disney has taken their classic princess movie formula and updated it for live-action films and adults. Their name isn't synonymous with "genius marketing" for nothing.
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