Saturday, September 19, 2009

(Blog #365) Oz movies

Yep, if you just read one of my blogs here a day, you'd take a whole year to catch up!

I was talking to an Oz fan today, and brought up an interesting tidbit:

There has yet to be a theatrically released Oz movie that was a financial success on its initial release.

First off is Baum's Fairylogue and Radio-Plays. While not exactly a theatrically released film, it was not able to cover its costs.

It is not known how well-received the 1910 silent Oz movies were. The fact that only one of them survived might be a clue that there were not many copies made. However, this cannot be counted as concrete evidence to a commercial failure, as many early films no longer exist. (The very first existing motion picture is only a couple of seconds long. I slowed it down and showed it in its entirety in Wonders 5.)

The Oz Film Manufacturing Company is infamous for its short life due to being unable to sell their films.

The 1925 silent Wizard of Oz led to Chadwick Pictures actually closing, giving you an idea of how well that went.

The 1932 Land of Oz Meglin Kiddies film, I am also unsure of how it did. (It doesn't seem to have been a memorable success.)

I won't count the 1933 Wizard of Oz cartoon as it didn't even get released.

This brings us to the movie everyone knows: the 1939 Wizard of Oz from MGM starring Judy Garland. While it did not recoup its budget on its first release, it did on a re-release. The thing is, it was a prestige picture: money was no object, so recouping the budget was not a concern.

Next up is the kiddie flick The Wonderful Land of Oz. However, these were not known for being money-makers.

Then, Journey Back to Oz in 1974. Its weak release and distribution eventually led people to think it was a TV movie.

I am not sure how Oz (or 20th Century Oz or Oz - A Rock 'n' Roll Road Movie did, but as it didn't have a big release, I'm guessing it wasn't good.

Which brings us to the fiasco of the 1978 movie version of The Wiz. It went very overbudget, and despite some very loyal fans, could not recoup its budget.

Then came the 1985 flop of Return to Oz by Disney. (It deserved to do better.)

And now, 2010 looks to bring two new Oz movies: The Wizard of Oz, a CG feature directed by John Boorman, and Dorothy of Oz, a CG film based on Roger S. Baum's book. Will these films end the trend of Oz flops? We'll see!


Anonymous said...

Is there a scene cut for the wizard of oz ?
I remember a scene before dorthy sits down next to the crystal ball.
she was cry to her aunt trying to turn the hour glass over but would not turn over. she cried " it won't turn over, aunty m it turn over,it won't turn over. then she quiets down and sits down next to the crystal ball.
Then the witch taughts her with the image of aunty m & the witchappearss it the crystal ball.

I'm i the only one who remembers this scene, or did i imagine it?
they made a spoof of it in 1977 flash gordon movie

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember the scene well, and have been searching for references to it. It is not even part of the script I found here:

Quite a mystery...

Anonymous said...

Seems we are all confusing that scene with Flash Gordon:

While Flash was in Ming's dungeon.
Klytus: You have until the up.
Dale: It won't turn over! It won't turn over!