Sam Raimi returned to his over-the-top horror roots with Drag Me to Hell, following the collapse of Spider-Man 4, and Sony’s resultant decision to reboot the franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man. He’s back on big-budget territory with Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful: a prequel about how a young Wizard of Oz (James Franco) first found his way to that magical land somewhere over the rainbow.

The film has primarily been sold on the merits of its cast so far, with Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis playing a trifecta of Oz witches (Evanora, Glinda, and Theodora) whose lives are complicated by the arrival of the young “Wizard.” Today, though, we have the first official poster, as a teaser for Raimi’s vision of such iconic fantasy locales as the Yellow Brick Road and Emerald City.

Oz the Great and Powerful boasts the handiwork of art director Todd Cherniawsky (Sucker Punch) and two-time Oscar-winning production designer Robert Stromberg (Avatar); the two previously collaborated on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland for the Mouse House. Stromberg was thereafter hired on to direct Disney’s Sleeping Beauty spinoff Maleficent, thanks to his combined efforts on both Alice and Oz.

That’s all to say: Raimi’s Wizard of Oz prequel is guaranteed to be a feast for the eyes, as suggested by the official one-sheet (followed by the official logline – or, you can check out the full plot synopsis):

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When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great and powerful Wizard—and just maybe into a better man as well.

Script duties on Oz the Great and Powerful were handled by Mitchell Kapner (The Whole Nine Yards, Romeo Must Die) and David Lindsay-Abaire (Robots, Rabbit Hole). That pair has found success working in a eclectic mix of sub-genres. Hence, it’ll be interesting to see how their interpretation of L. Frank Baum’s original Oz literature turns out, when coupled with Raimi’s storytelling sensibilities (which tend to be pretty loopy, in ways good and bad).

For interested moviegoers, Oz the Great and Powerful will be covered during Disney’s panel at the 2012 Comic-Con next week, on Thursday July 12th from 2:05-3:05 p.m. in Hall H. The event will also feature presentations for Burton’s Frankenweenie and the 3D animated flick Wreck-it Ralph. For those unable to attend Comic-Con: keep an eye on the Screen Rant main page for our coverage of the event.

Oz the Great and Powerful opens in U.S. theaters on March 8th, 2013.

Source: Walt Disney Pictures