No studio can will a movie to success, no matter how much it spends. But Disney's well- orchestrated advertising and PR campaign leading up to the release of "Oz The Great And Powerful" certainly played a role in an impressive $80.3-million opening, the first piece of good box office news in what has been a stinker of a winter. It's a good lesson on how well-placed TV ads (Super Bowl, Oscars, etc.), along with a dozen or so cover stories and a wide presence in social media can create interest in a film that has received okay but not great reviews. Capitalizing on the "Wizard of Oz" brand (if not the rights to the 1939 film) didn't hurt - "Oz" did well across many demographic lines. Another plus: It wasn't a blah remake of a well-known tale (as with the poorly received "Jack The Giant Slayer," which managed only $10 million in its second weekend). The overseas market is being watched closely - it could determine how much of a hit "Oz" turns out to be. From Deadline:
Talent and filmmakers were out in force in support of the film, with appearances across daytime and late-night, print media (10+ cover stories), an E! movie special that aired March 7, and exclusive screenings and special events including Comic-Con (featuring buzzed-about Hall H panel and footage debut), CinemaCon and Daytona 500 (with James Franco serving as Grand Marshal). And end-credit song "Almost Home" by Mariah Carey released February 19th via Island Def Jam while the music video directed by longtime Carey collaborator David LaChapelle debuted on American Idol. in terms of innovation, Google Chrome Experiment "Find Your Way to Oz" designed by Disney and Google created an immersive experience and included an unprecedented Google homepage takeover on February 7th. The "Journey to Oz" Balloon Tour, sponsored by HSN and IMAX, launched February 12 while Disney theme park integrations included an exclusive 8-minute 4D sneak peek of the film throughout March and a large-scale Oz garden with entry portal, carnival area, and Yellow Brick Road through May 19.
From the LAT:
Far from capping a three-year, $235-million production effort, the movie is shaping up to be the first shot in a battle between Disney and its Burbank rival Warner Bros., which owns rights to the iconic 1939 film but decided against producing its own reboot. As Disney rolls out "Great and Powerful" around the world, it also plans a sequel and has high hopes for a merchandising line. Yet Warners, loath to watch a competitor cash in on one of its crown jewels, is trying to make up for lost time: it is planning an "Oz" cable TV show, a 3-D DVD re-release of the 1939 film and plenty of its own products. The fight over "Oz" bounty not only demonstrates the critical importance of a franchise in modern Hollywood but also raises the question -- philosophically if not legally -- of who should control the direction of one of the country's most cherished properties.