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James Franco lands on Hollywood Boulevard as Disney's "Oz The Great and Powerful" premieres at the El Capitan Theatre

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James Franco lands on Hollywood Boulevard as Disney's "Oz The Great and Powerful" premieres at the El Capitan Theatre

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When "The Wizard of Oz" held its Hollywood premiere back on August 15, 1939 at Grauman's Chinese Theater ...

Copyright Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved

... MGM really went all out. They took the courtyard of this famous movie palace and transformed into a miniature version of the Land of Oz. Complete with its very own tiny version of the Yellow Brick Road and a handful of Munchkins to greet the various celebrities who turned out for this star-studded affair.

Mervyn LeRoy, the producer of "The Wizard of Oz" (in the black tux)
and MGM star Wallace Beery (in the light grey suit) interact with
cast members from this MGM musical in the courtyard of
Grauman's Chinese Theater. Copyright Warner Bros.
Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved

Well, you know The Walt Disney Company. They're kind of a competitive bunch. So when it came time to hold the Hollywood premiere of "Oz The Great and  Powerful" last night at the El Capitan Theatre ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... (which -- FYI -- is just down the street / right across the way from where the movie palace = which is now known as TCL Chinese Theater - is located on Hollywood Boulevard), the Mouse wanted to top what MGM had done at its "Oz" premiere back in 1939. So Mickey wasn't going to settle for a mini Yellow Brick Road.

Rachel Weisz (in orange) and Mila Kunis (in grey) stop and pose for pictures on the
Yellow Brick Road at last night's Hollywood premiere of Disney's "Oz the Great and
Powerful." Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

The PR team at Walt Disney Studios replaced the red carpet that you usually find at film premieres with a nearly 500 feet-long recreation of the Yellow Brick Road. Not only that, but given that the title character of "Oz The Great and Powerful" arrives in Oz via hot air balloon ... Well, it only made sense that James Franco would make a similar sort of entrance ...

James Franco makes his descent onto Hollywood
Boulevard. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

... before he then hopped out of that balloon's basket and hustled into the El Capitan Entertainment Centre. Where Franco then put in a quick appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" to help promote the March 8th release of this Sam Raimi film.

Franco on his way to "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.
All rights reserved

And speaking of Sam, the director of "Oz the Great and Powerful" put in an appearance at this film's Hollywood premiere. Raimi was accompanied by his brother Ted as well as frequent collaborator Bruce Campbell.

Ted Raimi (right) just can't seem to recall who this
pointy-chinned performer might be. Copyright
Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Sam made a point of interacting with film fans who came out last night for "Oz The Great and Powerful" 's Hollywood premiere, signing any & all posters and photographs that came his way.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Academy Award nominee Michelle Williams was equally gracious with the people standing along Hollywood Boulevard. Taking the time to sign dozens of autographs ...

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... before she then had to be hurried away to pose for those inevitable publicity shots.

(L to R) James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams,
Rachel Weisz and Zach Braff. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And speaking of people posing for shots: This famous trio turned up on the Yellow Brick Road last night as well. And -- no -- they're not the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion.

(L to R) Bob Iger, Chairman & CEO of The Walt Disney Company; Joe Roth, producer of
"Oz the Great and Powerful" and Alan Horn, Chairman of Walt Disney Studios.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

It was a night full of quick fun reunions ...

Zach Braff busses his former "Scrubs" co-star, Donald Faison. Copyright Disney
Enterprises, Inc. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

... and goofy moments in front of the camera.

Bruce Campbell goofs on James Franco as they pose with Ted Raimi at last night's
event. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

Now as for the film itself ... Nancy and I actually got to see "Oz The Great and Powerful" this past Tuesday morning in NYC at a screening that Walt Disney Studios Publicity set up for the media. And since we were only allowed to attend this early, early screening of "Oz" if we honored all conditions of the embargo that WDS Publicity had already put in place (i.e. no Facebooking, Tweeting or posting full-blown reviews of "Oz" until March 6th), it'll be at least 20 days before I can then officially share what I thought of this upcoming Walt Disney Pictures release.

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

On the other hand, starting this evening, D23 members are going to get the chance to see special advance 3D screenings of this new Sam Raimi film. Three of these are going to be held right on the Disney Lot inside of  the Studio Theatre. With one being held tonight, another on Friday night and a third on Saturday night. And if after those advance screenings, some members of The Official Disney Fan Club wanted to stop on by and post their thoughts on "Oz The Great and Powerful" in the comments section attached to today's article ... Well, who am I to stop them?

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

That said, without getting into any specifics here, if you liked Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," I'm pretty sure that you're going to enjoy Disney's "Oz The Great and Powerful."

Your thoughts?

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  • As a longtime Sam Raimi fan, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the gentleman wearing the gray suit in the pictures with Bruce Campbell is in fact Ted Raimi, Sam's little brother and also a frequent collaborator.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Oops. My mistake. Thanks for pointing out my error. I've made the necessary corrections to those photo captions.

  • Sam Raimi is indeed signing autographs, but posing with Bruce Campbell in both pictures is Sam's younger brother Ted Raimi. Otherwise, cool article!

    EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm glad you liked the article and I do apologize for mixing up Ted & Sam.

  • So since most people hated Alice in Wonderland ( im not sure where you fall on this issue), are you saying this is just as bad?

    EDITOR'S NOTE: "Most people hated Alice in Wonderland" ? That Tim Burton film is the 5th highest grossest film in Walt Disney Studio history. It earned $1.02 billion worldwide when it was released to theaters on 2010, which puts "Alice" in the same elite group as "Finding Nemo," "Toy Story 3," "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" and "Marvel's The Avengers."

    I realize that there are those people who don't equate huge box office success with a great motion picture. But in order to sell a billion dollars worth of movie tickets, that means that there are people out there who went to the same movie multiple times. Which -- in "Alice in Wonderland" 's case -- means that there were a lot of people out there who did like this Tim Burton film.

    And just for the record: I was one of those people, Nick ... http://jimhillmedia.com/editor_in_chief1/b/jim_hill/archive/2010/03/05/disney-tim-burton-linda-woolverton-deliver-an-alice-for-the-ages.aspx#.UR2Wf2ecs3w

  • I loved Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and can't wait to see the D23 early screening of Oz tomorrow at The Walt Disney Studios theater. I know SeeItFirst overbooks but I really hope they can get us all in. We won't be allowed onto the studios lot until 6:30pm, check-in at 7pm and screening at 7:30pm. Coming from San Diego, I really hope I'm not turned away. Hopefully other D23 members who see the Thursday or Friday screenings will post some reviews/tips. =o) d23.disney.go.com/.../oz-the-great-and-powerful-3dadvance-screenings

  • Since I can't say I'm excited about this movie, I guess I must wait 6 months for the DVD. I'm having overhype fatigue. These movies don't seem to live up to the hype.

    Somehow, I can't shake the feeling that perhaps "Wicked" should be made instead. I don't get James Franco as the lead. I just don't picture him in the role of the OZ. He doesn't bring to the role any sense of authority, prior to this movie as what I mean.

    I remembered Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell from the "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Hercules". How far they come.

  • Very fabulous premier.  I'm so excited to watch this film with my kids.

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