Here’s an odd story: Sam Raimi’s Oz, The Great and Powerful starring Robert Downey Jr., is apparently set to begin filming in June 2011. At least that’s what Production Weekly is tweeting (for those who don’t know, they’re a reputable source). The reason this news is odd is because it looked like Raimi was moving forward on his other project: an adaptation of the popular online video game World of Warcraft. It looked like that because that’s what Raimi told Steve at the Saturn Awards last month. Not only that, Raimi seemed really excited for WoW, and wasn’t even sure if he was going to do Oz, let alone make it his first project.
Hit the jump for more on Oz, The Great and Powerful and my theory as to why it may be going ahead of Warcraft.
For those who don’t know, Oz, The Great and Powerful is about the Wizard (Downey) as a charlatan who’s part of a traveling circus but goes on a similar odyssey as Dorothy when he mysteriously lands in Oz. As for those unfamiliar with World of Warcraft, it’s a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) that takes place in a sword-and-sorcery fantasy setting of orcs, wizards, paladins, and all that good stuff.
Oz may be going ahead first simply because Raimi is perhaps more satisfied with its script than Warcraft‘s. At the Saturn Awards, Raimi said that they had a 40 page treatment for WoW. It’s possible that they haven’t reached the script stage yet. It could also be a matter of funding. The budget on a WoW movie will most likely be ridiculous due to the size and scope of the game. I’m not saying Oz would be cheap, but I have tough time believing it would cost more than a World of Warcraft movie. Plus, you can’t start to formulate a budget (or at least you shouldn’t try to) on a movie until there’s a script that gives an idea of the costs involved. The reason directors tend to attach themselves to multiple projects in the first place is so that they’re not waiting on just one to get financing while other projects pass them by.
Of course Oz having its financing together before Warcraft is pure conjecture on my part, but that’s the best kind of conjecture.