Oz the Great and Powerful is a 2013 American fantasy adventure film directed by Sam Raimi and written by David Lindsay-Abaire and Mitchell Kapner from a story by Kapner. Based on L. Frank Baum’s early 20th century Oz novels and set 20 years before the events of the original 1900 novel, the film is a spiritual prequel to the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film The Wizard of Oz. Starring James Franco in the title role, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, Joey King, and Tony Cox, the film tells the story of Oscar Diggs, a deceptive magician who arrives in the Land of Oz and encounters three witches: Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda. Oscar is then enlisted to restore order in Oz while struggling to resolve conflicts with the witches and himself.
Kapner began developing an origin story for the Wizard of Oz after a lifelong interest of wanting to create one for the character. Walt Disney Pictures commissioned the film’s production in 2009 with Joe Roth as producer and Grant Curtis, Joshua Donen, Philip Steuer and Palak Patel serving as executive producers. Raimi was hired to direct the following year. After Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp declined the titular role, Franco was cast in February 2011 with principal photography commencing five months later. Danny Elfman composed the film’s score.
Oz the Great and Powerful premiered at the El Capitan Theatre on February 14, 2013 followed by a general theatrical release on March 8, 2013 in Disney Digital 3-D, RealD 3D and IMAX 3D formats. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film grossed over $493 million worldwide against a $200 million budget, making it the 13th-highest-grossing film of 2013. The film won the Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Live Action Family Film and Kunis won the 2014 MTV Movie Award for Best Villain for her performance as the Wicked Witch of the West.