Thursday, January 31, 2013

So, this happened...

So, if you remember, I tried out for the position of editing The Baum Bugle in July 2012. While the position went to Craig Noble, I was and am pretty cool about it. (Especially considering I wound up going on a bit of Oz burnout earlier this month... Hence why there were so few blog entries this month.)

However, I did offer my services, and an offer did come up. I won't say I'm actually the editor of the section, but I am largely responsible now for preparing the Oz and Ends section of the Bugle.

Oz and Ends contains announcements of Oz events and merchandise, briefs of auctions and theatrical productions, and in the past, it's even contained mentions of Oz references in television shows. (They don't do that anymore, or at least, not recently.)

So, that means if you got something for Oz and Ends, go ahead and send it my way. I hear Oz news all the time, but considering I've been doing that for years, sometimes I forget that "This should be in Oz and Ends!"

There's a variety of ways to reach me, but I'd prefer any notifications for this be e-mailed to me at Please include "Oz and Ends" in the subject line, as I'm setting up a filter for this for quick sorting and reference.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A thought on Oz continuities

Continuity and Oz don't seem to go together well. There's various discrepancies in the Famous Forty, even within Baum's founding fourteen. Still, with a few glances away from certain spots, they largely still work together as a whole.

However, in a lot of recent Oz works, there's the heavy trend of divergent continuity. Things just don't match up with the Baum books, from The Laughing Dragon of Oz to Wicked (both the book and musical) to almost everything done now. From the looks of it, despite it being based on the book, Oz the Great and Powerful will be yet another divergent continuity. It'll be the polar opposite of Disney's Return to Oz: whereas Return was a sequel to a Wizard of Oz we didn't see, it seems Oz will be a prequel to a Wizard of Oz we haven't seen. Or have yet to see. (And people expect both to fit with the MGM film. Sorry, it's not going to happen.)

Some fans aren't all right with this. And I can see where they're coming from. Despite all the continuity gaffes, it's actually not that difficult to set a relatively continuity-friendly story in Baum's Oz.

On the other hand, I've gotten to the place where I tend to accept it. In the case of Oz the Great and Powerful, it seems more like they're beginning a new series, opting to start before The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. And sometimes, trying to strictly follow pre-established continuity can limit your creativity. And it's a movie, a different medium than the original Oz books. We let Peter Jackson get away with Elves at Helm's Deep and Frodo going to Osgiliath in The Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit is much in the same vein). A film adaptation needs to breathe on its own.

Still, it's a little annoying, because you've spent so much time with the characters in Baum's series that you want to know about their further adventures, and divergent continuities don't offer you those characters, but characters based on them. This might be a fun way of looking at these characters, or you might feel like shouting "Impostor!"

Anyway, in the end, it's Oz, and Oz is supposed to be fun. So, let's have fun with it, shall we?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Whiz of a Wiz

The majority of the back story for the Wizard of Oz is provided in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, following up on the brief bit of history we get in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He was born Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmanuel Ambrose Diggs, and used his first two initials because the rest of them spelled "pinhead."

He was born in Omaha, the son of a politician, and joined the circus at a young age. During his circus career, he worked as a ventriloquist, a stage magician, and a balloonist. When his balloon, on which was emblazoned the initials O.Z., landed in the Land of Oz, the people took him for a member of their royal family. He also claimed to be a wizard, and showed them some magic tricks. Soon, he had managed to make himself ruler of the country, although his actual power didn't extend much beyond the Emerald City that he had built, presumably on the ruins of King Pastoria's old castle.

After many years of hiding out in his palace, Dorothy and her friends discovered his secret, and he left the land in a balloon. He eventually returned to Omaha and again worked as a circus balloonist until getting caught in a California earthquake and falling into the subterranean Vegetable Kingdom. It just so happened that Dorothy had also ended up there, and she helped him reach Oz, where he remained and trained under Glinda to learn real magic.

This was actually a pretty solid history for the most part, although there are a few questions remaining. I've already looked at how sinister the Wizard's motives were and the origin of the Nine Tiny Piglets, but there are others. For instance, when did the Wizard arrive in Oz? He claims in Wizard to have grown from a young man to a very old man while there, but how many years was it? It would be interesting to know when he left the United States relative to the Civil War and to his native Nebraska becoming a state in 1867. The short story "Buffalo Dreams" has him leaving for Oz sometime in the 1890s, but I'd say that's not enough time.

We do know that he arrived in Oz at a time when two Good Witches and two Wicked Witches controlled most of the country. At one point, he was driven out of the West by the Winged Monkeys. Mombi was no longer in power, but still active, and Oscar had dealings with her. This situation is clearly different from what we see in Wicked, in which Elphaba and Nessarose don't obtain any kind of power until after the Wizard has set up his totalitarian government. It sort of looks like the upcoming Oz, the Great and Powerful will also take this route, but I obviously couldn't say for sure.

It's curious to note that, while the Wizard is a character with an established full name (unlike, say, the Shaggy Man), hardly anybody ever uses it. When he was ruling, he went by Oz, which makes sense given the case of mistaken identity. After his return, however, pretty much everyone just calls him "Wizard" as if that were his name.

Another interesting thing is that Oscar claims to have had "many adventures" on his way back to Omaha from Oz, yet we never learn what they are. I've had a story planned about this very subject for years, but I've only managed to write a few pages so far.

Monday, January 28, 2013

More Oz books!

 Now to go ahead and finish this box of Oz books that I've read...

Pegasus in Oz by Annie Brzozowski — Many people from the Emerald City head to Ev to free a pegasus (a winged horse) from a cyclops! Meanwhile, a boy named Don Mullinquy finds his way to Ev from Wyoming.

This story isn't really one of the best. There are far too many characters going to Ev from Oz, and few of them do anything. Nathan wrote about it over a year ago, and I agree with his assessment: there's a good plot, but it's not fully developed. If the writer is still writing, it may be something for her to try again.

The illustrations by Steve Burt are cartoony and fun, but there's far too few.

Buy Pegasus in Oz here.

The Magic Chest of Oz by Donald Abbott — Donald Abbott wrote a number of Oz stories set before and just after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This is one of them, set some time before The Marvelous Land of Oz. (It is also the only book in this blog that Chris Dulabone didn't publish.)

The Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion are all doing their duties around Oz, when a number of Munchkins accidentally free the shadow of the Wicked Witch of the East. She locked it away when it came to life, taking the name Malvonia. With some help from the Good Witches, can the famous trio defeat Malvonia before she takes on a real body?

The story is actually pretty good, though rather direct. The illustrations on the other hand, I really wish Abbott had tried to find his own style. It's obvious he prefers Denslow over Neill, and there's no problem with that, but I'd like to see Abbott work out his own style. If he's managed to develop a style like Denslow's, then that's amazing, but I'd like to see what he'd develop on his own.

Buy The Magic Chest of Oz here.

A Mystical Magical Super Adventure in Oz by Chris Dulabone and Marin Xiques — This is a follow up to A Silver Elf in Oz, detailing how the people of Ciudad del Nino adjust to living in Oz after being relocated from New Mexico. Approximately the first half of the the book tell how Faith and Gideon Shelcore deal with snobby (formerly) rich girl Delilah Summers.

In the second half, Delilah gets transported while trying to pull a prank during a school field trip to the Springbok Forest of Oz. She winds up going on a quest to find the golden Pylowe of Huwlanne.

I won't spoil the ending, but it was far from the re-defining character moment for Delilah that I thought it would be at the end, wiped out with a next-to-last page twist.

Melody Grandy provides a few illustrations, but there's far too few. There's exactly 100 pages between the first illustration in the text and the second one. Melody's illustrations are beautiful, but there's far too few.

Get A Mystical Magical Super Adventure in Oz here.

Finally, The Magic Topaz of Oz by Carol P. Silva, Marin Xiques and Bob Evans — This story follows up on The Forest Monster of Oz, which left Tweaty the Canary transformed into a cat-sized, orange elephant. After being advised to try to be happy, in case he can't ever regain his former shape, he meets Judy the Rhinoceros, who gives him the Topaz Topsaz, which allows him to do the things he wanted to do.

Tweaty goes around the forest, trying to help whoever he meets by using the topaz to grant their wishes. But is giving the other animals exactly what they want good for them? And will Tweaty ever be restored?

The story makes a really good point and is a lot of fun, though its entire premise is built on an unresolved issue in Forest Monster.

The illustrations by Lauren Marie Finley are actually more like poster art, depicting the animal characters, but they're very nicely done, very realistic.

Get The Magic Topaz of Oz here.

Friday, January 25, 2013

'Oz the Great and Powerful' Character Posters

Happy Friday!

As expected, most of the news this week is regarding Oz the Great and Powerful.

First up, two new TV spots for the movie have been released - one longer than the other, but both have quite a bit of new footage. Watch them here and here. The latter is being shown on Disney Channel pretty often.

Four new character posters have just been released as well, which you can check out below.

My friend Ryan Jay, who is a nationally-syndicated film critic I'll have you know, recently released an interview with Dorothy of Oz producer Ryan Carroll. Check that out here.

That's it for this week. Hopefully we'll get some Dorothy of Oz news here soon! Still no release date...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Royal Podcast of Oz - The International Wizard of Oz Club: 2013

Jared chats with Carrie Hedges, current president of the International Wizard of Oz Club, and Craig Noble, the new editor of The Baum Bugle.

As always, you can listen and download at the podcast site, or use the player below.



Podcast Powered By Podbean

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mombi Dearest

When studying the history of Oz, you're pretty much guaranteed to come across Mombi, the wicked witch who successfully captured three successive generations of the Ozian royal family. She first shows up in The Marvelous Land of Oz as someone dwelling in the rural Gillikin Country and practicing magic in secret, although all her neighbors actually know about it and fear her. She's raising a boy named Tippetarius for whom she shows no love, and it turns out he's Princess Ozma under an enchantment. Ozma reveals in Dorothy and the Wizard that her former guardian was once the Wicked Witch of the North, and that she had been the jailor of Ozma's grandfather and father. The fate of Ozma's grandfather remains unknown, but we learn in Lost King that Mombi turned her father into a tailor and imprisoned him in the city of Blankenburg. What I have to wonder is, if Mombi was once the ruler of the Gillikin Country (as suggested in DotWiz and reiterated in Giant Horse), how was she able to live there in relative obscurity at the beginning of Land? Later, she worked as a cook in the court of Kimbaloo, using her own name. Ruth Plumly Thompson gives the rather weak excuse that the history book they used in Kimbaloo, written by Professor Wogglebug, didn't mention the name of the witch who had enchanted Ozma. I'd also like to take a look at the magic powers Mombi demonstrates throughout the series. She's obviously a fan of transformation, which she used on both Ozma and Pastoria as well as others. She turned Pastoria's Prime Minister Pajuka into a goose; and tried to change Queen Orin into a wicked witch, but she became a good witch instead. In her good witch form, Orin first comes across Mombi trying to turn a woodcutter into a stump. In Land, the wicked woman exchanges forms with Jellia Jamb; and turns herself into a rose, an ant, a shadow, and a griffin in her attempts to get away from Glinda. In Giant Horse, it's mentioned that she turned herself into a beautiful woman to try to seduce Cheeriobed, a trick that Blinkie's associates also use in Scarecrow. Interestingly, she also gives herself a more youthful form in Gregory Maguire's non-canonical Out of Oz. In addition to transformation, she proves to be quite deft at creating realistic illusions. Even after she loses her powers, she is still able to work a certain amount of magic with cooking ingredients, producing a baking powder that can make anything rise and gelatin that can gelatinate an entire lake. When she appears in painted form in Lucky Bucky, the only magic she really works is to fly. The text mentions her having a "riding broom," but her ability to fly doesn't always seem to be connected to the broom. When we see the actual living Mombi, she's limited to travel on foot, and needs a stick to balance. On the other hand, she's seemingly tireless and is reported to have the strength of ten men, so her weakness could be at least partially an act. Whether the real Mombi could ever fly remains a mystery, although it is perhaps worth noting that she once rode a black eagle, and Blue Emperor reports that she showed up on a broomstick to capture Ozroar. Incidentally, I've read of a likely source for Mombi's name, and I might as well bring that up here. Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Feathertop" has a witch bringing a scarecrow with a pumpkin for a head to life. Jack Pumpkinhead shows some similarities to Feathertop, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if L. Frank Baum chose to name the witch who animated Jack a shorter version of that of Hawthorne's witch, Mother Rigby. By the way, isn't it about time for Mombi to get her own book?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bob and Chris

I have been taking it easy on blogging lately. Sometimes, you just need a break and when you have it, it takes awhile to come back.

It's been bugging me, though, because I have a number of Oz books that I've read...

Here are two by Chris Dulabone and Bob Evans. Up first is The Forest Monster of Oz. The giant spider the Cowardly Lion defeated in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is back and is stealing the life essence from the animals in the Lunechien Forest of Oz. It's up to a small band of brave animals to seek help from Ozma of Oz—the new ruler of the Emerald City—herself.

The story is set shortly after The Marvelous Land of Oz and follows the usual quest pattern, though the conclusion is a bit of a surprise and leaves everyone with a happy ending.

The other one is Abducted to Oz. Young Graham is suddenly grabbed by the Wicked Witch of the West and taken to Oz. This isn't the real Wicked Witch of the West, instead it's a parade float version that was brought to life, and thanks to a thought of Graham's at the moment she was brought to life, she looks a lot like Margaret Hamilton's version from the MGM movie. However, she believes she's the real thing, and that's bad enough!

Graham must escape the witch and get back home, but can he do it without letting everyone in Oz down now that they have a new Wicked Witch to deal with?

These two books are a lot of fun, but there's an issue with both: they each have a chapter that could easily be removed where the characters meet some form of a real historical figure who tells them their story. I can appreciate trying to be educational, but I don't feel it was integrated so well here. This is like reading The Lord of the Rings and suddenly finding a chapter where Frodo and Sam meet George Washington.

The chapter in Abducted works better than the one in Forest Monster. In Abducted, Graham finds an illusion airport where he boards a train and he meets a number of historical figures, such as William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. Since we're still wandering around Oz, this doesn't interrupt the story much. However, in Forest Monster, this happens midway through the resolution of the story. Literally, it is the next to last chapter. We're almost at the climax, but before we get to it, we meet the shadow of a baseball player from the future who tells us about his owner's career. It would have been much better if these meeting had been integrated into the plot.

However, like I said, these chapters can more or less be ignored. The rest of the books still make for great Oz stories.

Get The Forest Monster of Oz
Get Abducted to Oz

Friday, January 11, 2013

'Oz the Great and Powerful' Merchandise!

In the words of the legendary Rebecca Black... "it's Friday."

First up, here's a new TV spot for Oz the Great and Powerful.

Lots of Oz the Great and Powerful stuff this week!

A bunch of new stills from the movie have been released. Check them out along with an interview with composer Danny Elfman here.

A line of dolls by a company called Tollytots have been announced. Check out all the pictures below. These will hit shelves on January 25th.

Other items such as a necklace, make-up case, tiara, and witch hat are available for pre-order on the Toys "R" Us website. Check 'em out here.

A nice, behind-the-scenes book called The Art of Oz the Great and Powerful will he shelves on March 5th. The book is written by Grant Curtis, and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

Additionally, a junior novelization of the movie, written by Elizabeth Rudnick, will be released on February 5th. Pre-order that on Amazon here.

In other news, a song clip featuring the voice of Lea Michele from Dorothy of Oz has been leaked online and is floating around Tumblr... the song is, presumably, called "One Day" and is written by Bryan Adams.

That's it for this week, kids! Enjoy the weekend.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Princess of Cozytown

The Princess of Cozytown, by Ruth Plumly Thompson - This 1922 collection of short fairy tales by L. Frank Baum's successor to the Oz series is available here. The download costs money, but it's free to read on the website. The first story, which shares its title with the book, is a rather depressing metaphorical tale about growing up, in which the titular princess is captured by the Giant Grownupness and leaves her toys behind. Its view on growing up seems to be that it's sad but inevitable, and it's hard not to feel bad for the toys. "The Prince with a Cold in His Heart" tells how a wise man saves a prince from snobbishness by magically showing him the boy he could be. In "The Bald-Headed Kingdom," the only story in the collection to be divided into stories, a king is so sensitive about his baldness that he orders the heads of all his subjects shaved. His son discovers a cure for baldness, but when the king uses too much, he's smothered to death by hair. Kind of a dark twist at the end there. "The Tailor of Nevermindwhere" brings a tailor to a kingdom where the nobles refuse to pay for their clothes, and has him teach them a lesson in humility, as well as demonstrating the old adage that clothes make the man. I kind of think Thompson tried to put in too much plot twists for such a short story, but it's charming nonetheless. "The Last Giant" is about a giant who falls in love with a princess and uses magic to bring himself down to normal human size. While the giant is introduced as a sympathetic character, the ending plays his rather unfortunate fate for laughs. Finally, "The Princess Who Could Not Dance" has a princess learning that dancing should be fun and not purely calculated. Interestingly, considering that its lead story is about leaving childhood behind, the general theme of several of these tales is to embrace youthful fun. There's also a general undercurrent of learning to treat everyone with respect, but that's pretty much a constant in fairy tales. The tales are very much in Thompson's usual style (whether that's a good or a bad thing is up to you to decide), but have a more traditional feel than her Oz books and some of her other work.

Monday, January 07, 2013

An Aussie Ozzy Show

I recently purchased this DVD from a fellow Oz collector. I'd seen the DVD before, though not the program on it. Co-blogger Sam was passing a copy on to a fellow collector when we met up at Winkies in 2011.

So, this is an interactive stage show from Australia. By "interactive," I mean that children are encouraged to arrive in costume and sing and dance along with the characters and the characters will sometimes ask for the audience to participate by asking questions or asking for them to shout.

Now, this concept has its roots, and probably the most famous example of this is the scene in Peter Pan in which Peter asks the children in the audience to clap their hands if they believe in fairies so they can save Tinker Bell. I've even heard of stage adaptations of Oz in which the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion enlist the aid of children in the audience to help Dorothy defeat the Wicked Witch.

The DVD is definitely a filmed stage show, and well-filmed as well, but it's cut together to flow nicely as a video. There is a framing sequence where, while the final results of a talent show are being decided upon, a puppet show of The Wizard of Oz is shown. This allows for them to simply depict the cyclone and Kansas scenes before moving into the elaborately staged version of Oz. The narrator appears on screen to help things along, though he's clearly lip-synching.

Now, the DVD's opening titles say that it is based on L. Frank Baum's book, but the costumes are definitely inspired by the MGM film, excellent examples being Dorothy, the Scarecrow and Glinda. (I'd say the Tin Woodman as well, but then how else do you depict him for a children's stage show?) The shoes are silver this time, but the lyrics for the songs often show similarities to the MGM film.

The "Follow The Yellow Brick Road" song did a double-whammy on me. Not only did the song remind me of "We're Off To See The Wizard," but the road is depicted by six dancing girls, similar to how dancers depicted the road in early stagings of The Wiz (I understand larger scale productions have recently resorted to special effects instead).

Here's the lyrics to their "Follow The Yellow Brick Road":
Follow! Follow! Follow
The Yellow Brick Road!
Follow! Follow! Follow
The Yellow Brick Road!
We're off to see the wizard,
The famous king of Oz.
Have you seen him lately?
Have you ever heard?
They say he's a wonderful fella
Who can work things out of air,
But it's giving us a scare
And we want to dare
To meet this Wizard of Oz!
The similarities don't end there. Just like "If I Only Had A Heart," the Tin Woodman's rap rhymes "human" with "presumin'." Their Emerald City song cribs from the additional opening lyrics for "The Merry Old Land of Oz" pretty freely:
We hope you like our city of old
Where it's never too hot and it's never too cold
Where you're never too big and you're never too small
And you're never, never, never too anything at all.
If you're not familiar with the original, the lyrics go:
There's a garden spot I'm told,
Where it's never too hot and it's never too cold
Where you're never too young and you're never too old
Where you're never too big or small
And you're never, never, never too too too anything at all.
The Tin Woodman raps to Dorothy:
Somewhere o'er the rainbow
The skies are really blue
And all the dreams you dream
Are surely coming true
And over that same rainbow
If the bluebirds can fly
If I believe enough in my heart,
So can I!
There are other examples as well, but I think I've said enough. However, there are plenty of other songs with mainly original lyrics. They also have "The Hokey Pokey," and in a scene where I could only smile and chuckle, "The Forest Macarena."

Surprisingly, bits from Baum's book do pop up: The Tin Woodman (who raps) reveals he was once human and in love, but the girl's mother traded two cows and a sheep to have him turned into tin. During this song sequence, the Scarecrow counters that a heart wouldn't be much good without a brain, just as he does in the book.

The plot is generally the MGM film's plot, except the forest they meet the Tin Woodman and Lion in is called "The Forest of Darkness," and we assume the entire group is in there until they come to the Emerald City. There's only a small bed of poppies that put Dorothy to sleep, and urging of the Yellow Brick Road dancers and her friends is enough to wake her. So "The Forest of Darkness" allows for many song sequences.

You may wonder about accents. To be honest, I didn't find them that distracting. Glinda probably has the most markedly Australian accent, but it wasn't bad. On the other hand, I am a guy who regularly talks to an Australian on Skype...

Overall, it's a curious adaptation of Oz with a fun take on the story, even if it does hew very closely to a certain famous adaptation.

Some notes about the DVD: it contains a featurette about an Oz convention in Australia that the show was part of, and Munchkin Margaret Pellegrini appears. It seems this was in the year 2000. There's a song selection menu and a scene selection, so it's actually broken into many chapters.

The video is filmed in a 16:9 (widescreen) aspect ratio, but it is not anamorphic, so if you play this on a widescreen television, you'll get bars on the top, bottom AND sides of the picture (unless your DVD player can let you zoom in). A reason for this is the lyrics that appear onscreen. They look like subtitles, but they cannot be turned on or off: they are part of the picture. Ideally, this should have been done with subtitles and made selectable, thus allowing the video to be anamorphic, but it was not done.

If you're interested in purchasing this curious Oz DVD, it is still for sale on the show's website. Note, the payment is in Australian dollars (check the current exchange rate), and the DVD didn't specify if it was encoded for all Regions, or Region 4 (Australia), nor if the frame rate is PAL or NTSC. (Trying to check this information on my own wasn't helpful.) Thus, it's recommended you have a DVD player capable of playing all regions just in case. If you're just interested in the music, they also have a CD.

Friday, January 04, 2013

"L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" Gets a New Poster

Happy Friday and welcome to 2013, which, so far... is a lot like 2012. Not much to report on this week, so let's just dive right into it, shall we?

First up, we have a brand new poster by artist Jeremy Bertz for the independent film L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is currently in production. Check it out below!

On New Year's Day, Disney Channel aired new clips from the upcoming Oz the Great and Powerful. Check out a low quality recording of that here.

Two New Year-themed TV spots for the film have been aired this week. Check them out here.

Also, check out some colorful, new stills from Oz the Great and Powerful right here.

That's all for this week, but expect a Dorothy and the Witches of Oz announcement soon, hopefully within the next week.

Have a great weekend, kids!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Will "Oz: The Great and Powerful" be Great and Powerful?

It's 2013, and most Oz fans are now awaiting the release of Oz: The Great and Powerful to be released by Disney in March.

I've noted before that there has yet to be a theatrically released Oz film that was a financial success upon release. This may no longer be the case, as I understand that given the nature of the project, even in a limited run, Dorothy and the Witches of Oz was successful.

The big thing people are saying is, "Hey, didn't Disney do Return to Oz? This is going to be that all over again, I bet."

Return to Oz was the last major Oz film to be released to theaters, and frankly, in the 1980s, a number of notable fantasy films didn't do well. Along with Return to Oz, the now-cult classics The Black Cauldron, Legend and Labyrinth failed to recoup their budgets. Either mis-marketed or just failing to find their audiences, all four of these films are well-enjoyed now.

While Oz has proved a tough sell in the past, I believe this specific film has a bit more riding on it. Frankly, people are now open to fantasy film. In 2001, we had The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter film series kick off with their first films, Potter ending its series about a year and a half ago, and the first installment of The Lord of the Rings' prequel trilogy The Hobbit now earning a lot at the box office.

We've also had a number of other fantasy films: The Chronicles of Narnia was finally given life on the big screen in what turned out to be a trilogy of films from 2005 to 2010. 2007 brought a feature film version of Neil Gaiman's Stardust, 2009 saw the original The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, 2010 brought the billion-dollar film Alice in Wonderland and 2012 brought two versions of the Snow White tale to the big screen: the blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman and the comedy Mirror Mirror.

That's not to say there haven't been a few bombs. Last year, Disney had a failure with an adaptation of the John Carter of Mars, and New Line Cinema's film Inkheart wasn't such a big success.

However, with the marketing push, the familiarity of Oz to audiences, and some recognizable cast members, I think Oz: The Great and Powerful has a great shot at breaking the cycle of Ozzy box office bombs.