There’s some legal action down that Yellow Brick Road. Just in time for the upcoming 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, Warner Bros were sued Wednesday by the estate of the Emmy winning late son of the actor who played the Tin Man in the movie. At dispute in the breach of fiduciary duties action (read it here) filed in federal court in Georgia is a documentary on the classic pic that the estate of Jack Haley Jr says WB is choking off unless it is given full rights to. In requesting a jury trial, plaintiff Kelly Brandt of Haley’s estate and trust wants a summary judgment that they are and always have been 50% owners of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making Of A Movie Classic. The estate also wants unspecified damages, all its legal costs covered and an accounting of all profits from the docu plus profits from a new docu that uses some of the same material. The director of 1974’s That’s Entertainment as well as the docu and other films, Jack Haley Jr died in 2001. Making Of A Movie Classic has been distributed with the 1939 original movie on video and DVD since the late ‘80s and has made over $4 million, of which the Haley estate has received $2,083,451 as of August 2013, according to this week’s filing.
Related: WB To Fete ‘Wizard Of Oz’ 75th Anniversary With IMAX 3D Release
The October 30 filing also claims that since 2011, WB has wanted all the rights to the docu for just $150,000. A situation that has left the film in distribution limbo. Something that the estate says the studio is dumb to allow. “Defendant’s actions have violated the common sense admonition not to ‘cut off your nose to spite your face’ as The Wizard of Oz has enjoyed renewed interest and popularity recently and a number of derivative works have recently enjoyed great success,” the 47-page civil complaint notes. “Every day that passes leads to dollars lost by the joint adventurers due to Defendant’s unilateral and unlawful decision to both mothball the Project and exclude Plaintiff from the competing derivative work and joint venture opportunity,” it adds. In case, you don’t know exactly what is being referred to, the complaint details at length the likes of Disney’s recent Oz: The Great & Powerful and various other upcoming Ozish projects
The full list of defendants on the complaint is Warner Bros Pictures, Warner Home Video, Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. – be interesting to see what WB fire back with but either way, don’t think we’re in Kansas any more guys (Couldn’t resist). The plaintiffs are represented by Jason Graham, Raegan King and Kaitlyn A. Dalton of Atlanta’s Graham & Penman LLP and by Neville Johnson of Beverly Hills firm Johnson & Johnson LLP.
The Yellow Brick Road will run through the Golden Arches. Warner Bros said today it will spend about $25 million on its comprehensive campaign for the 75th anniversary of the iconic 1939 film and that McDonald’s will lead the charge. For three weeks starting September 20, the fast-food behemoth will offer The Wizard Of Oz toys in Happy Meals at more than 14,000 outlets in North America. Other corporate marketing partners include QVC, which will offer Oz-themed products starting September 26, and Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, which will air an Oz competition episode two days later. Warners also added licensees for toys, games, clothes, jewelry, collectibles and much more. Warners, IMAX and TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX will host the September 15 world premiere of the 3D giant-screen version of the Judy Garland classic, which premiered at the then-Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It screens the same day at the Toronto Film Festival. A weeklong IMAX run in more than 300 theaters in North America follows, and a five-disc Collectors Edition set streets October 1. From the release about merchandising partners: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A century after the release of L. Frank Baum’s Wizard Of Oz series, the books have become the toast of this TV development season. NBC just nabbed Emerald City, an Oz-themed drama from Siberia creator/showrunner Matthew Arnold. Two weeks ago, CBS put in development Dorothy, a medical soap inspired by the characters and themes from The Wizard of Oz. I hear there is another Oz drama making the rounds from Heroes alums Adam Armus and Nora Kay Foster, with Heroes creator Tim Kring supervising. And just last month, Syfy picked up for development a miniseries titled Warriors Of Oz from director Timur Bekmambetov, a fantasy-action reimagining of the classic story. The great interest in Wizard Of Oz is not entirely unexpected as the title has been getting a lot of attention in conjunction with the upcoming 75th anniversary of the classic 1939 feature, which will include a 3D re-release of the Judy Garland starrer. It also comes on the heels of the success of Oz The Great And Powerful earlier this year.
Related: ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Sets Fall IMAX 3D Debut
Emerald City, which Arnold is writing and executive producing through Universal Television, is described as a dark reimagining of the classic tale of Oz in the vein of Game Of Thrones, drawing upon stories from Baum’s original 14 books. Read More »
The producers who brought Sherlock Holmes to New York for CBS, are doing the same with some other classic literary characters. CBS has put in development Dorothy, a drama project from Elementary executive producers Carl Beverly … Read More »
One of the last surviving Munchkins from The Wizard Of Oz has died. Margaret Pellegrini, who as a 15-year-old played the flowerpot Munchkin (right) … Read More »
The Technicolor classic will have its IMAX 3D world premiere on September 15 at Hollywood’s historic Chinese Theatre, the same movie house it first debuted in 75 years ago. The special … Read More »
The Wizard Of Oz is getting a major brand revitalization this fall. The Technicolor classic will return to screens on September 20 for an exclusive one-week IMAX 3D engagement commemorating its 75th … Read More »
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is banking on ruby-red slipper magic to rally support for its proposed Academy Museum of Motion Pictures — 70 years after the iconic shoes’ debut in The Wizard Of Oz. Dorothy’s vibrant Technicolor … Read More »
With the recent announcement of selections for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, Rachel Weisz discovered she is going to be there with two films: The Deep Blue Sea and Fernando Meirelles’ ensembler 360. But it was her acclaimed performance in another Toronto film — from the 2010 fest — that she most wanted to discuss when I recently caught up with her.
After its 2010 Toronto premiere, buzz started on awards prospects for The Whistleblower star Weisz’s intense and emotional performance. But after the fest, filmmakers went back into editing and toned down the harrowing rape scenes and further shaped the movie, which finally gets released today through the Samuel Goldwyn Company, which hopes the awards buzz will pick up again, especially if the distributor can get any box office traction in a crowded marketplace for small movies like this one.
Although it received mixed reviews after its Toronto unveiling, there was near-unanimous praise for Weisz’s portrayal of real-life Nebraska cop Kathryn Bolkovac, who took a job as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia only to uncover a web of corruption, sex trafficking and United Nations cover-ups when she arrived there in 1999. The real story turned out to be too intense to show the way it really was. “In fact the rape scene was cut down after the Toronto screening by the studio, which I completely understand,” she says. “It would be just too harrowing for people to watch. What actually happened was so much worse. I mean the stories I could tell you from the first person who encountered these young women. That was the ‘light’ version if you can believe that. But it isn’t a documentary, you don’t want to destroy people. You just want to illuminate something that actually happened that was a hundred times worse.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The smash hit stage musical Wicked is taking its first formative steps toward the movie screen. I’m told the musical’s producer Marc Platt, book writer Winnie Holzman, and songwriter Stephen Schwartz have begun meeting with filmmakers. Insiders confirm that JJ … Read More »