Warner Bros. Wants Robert Zemeckis to Remake ‘Wizard of Oz’ [Updated]

Published 3 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:45 am,

robert zemeckis remakes the wizard of oz Warner Bros. Wants Robert Zemeckis to Remake ‘Wizard of Oz’ [Updated]

[Update: PopWatch is reporting that Robert Zemeckis has declined doing The Wizard of Oz remake. Scroll for details.]

Another one bites the dust. That’s right, Hollywood’s never-ending (not to mention shameless) quest to remake every movie that has ever existed has claimed yet another victim. If you’re one of those rare human beings who somehow, someway managed to enjoy the 1998 remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho by Gus van Sant, then you’re going to love this.

According to Mike Fleming of Deadline, Warner Bros. wants Robert Zemeckis, who’s currently “filming” the motion-capture animated Yellow Submarine, to remake The Wizard of Oz using the original 1939 screenplay.

This won’t even be a redux in the form of an adaptation of the source material, like, say, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or the forthcoming True Grit, thus providing new avenues for where the story can go.

Apparently, Warner Bros. owns the classic film’s screenplay because Ted Turner acquired it with his purchase of the MGM library. Warner Bros., of course, subsequently purchased Turner’s vast empire, thus acquiring the Wizard of Oz screenplay as well.

robert zemeckis might direct wizard of oz Warner Bros. Wants Robert Zemeckis to Remake ‘Wizard of Oz’ [Updated]

This bit of news comes right on the heels of the announcement that Disney and Sam Raimi are developing The Great and Powerful Oz, possibly starring Robert Downey Jr. Other Oz projects in development include Surrender Dorothy, a sequel to The Wizard of Oz to be directed by Drew Barrymore, and an unnamed Oz sequel from Warner Bros. about Dorothy’s granddaughter. No word yet on whether or not the latter film, with an original screenplay by Josh Olsen (A History of Violence), has been scrapped in favor of this Zemeckis remake.

Speak of the devil, I would love to see someone compile a list of all the remakes going back a decade alongside their critical and financial success rates. With every passing year, there seem to be more and more remakes and less and less original entries in big-budget cinema. Are these remakes so fiscally successful that they’re worth the artistic integrity of the studios and the filmmakers who churn them out?

The fact of the matter is, few people watch Psycho (1998) unless they’re being ironic. When someone mentions Manchurian Candidate, they likely don’t picture Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, and Meryl Streep, they more likely picture Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh, and Angela Lansbury. And ten years from now, I hope that when someone wants to see a horror movie, they pick the original Halloween, not Rob Zombie’s.  It’s getting to the point where television is my main source for high-quality, original, live-action fiction, and that just makes me sad.

Sometimes I wish I could just click my heels together and wish the remakes away.

Hopefully, one day, we can live in a world free of remakes and rip-offs. But for now, we have Louis Letterrier’s Clash of the Titans, Samuel Bayer’s A Nightmare On Elm Street, and, if Warner Bros. gets their way, Robert Zemeckis’ The Wizard of Oz. I look forward (he said sarcastically) to Michael Bay’s Casablanca, now with twice as many sassy black women and 1,000,000% more nuclear explosions.

Source: Deadline

Update: Well, everybody can calm down now. PopWatch spoke to a source at Warner Bros. who said that while the studio did indeed have a meeting with Robert Zemeckis about potentially remaking The Wizard of Oz, Zemeckis wanted nothing to do with the project. (Score one for Zemeckis.) The source was quoted as saying, “The reports that Robert Zemeckis is doing The Wizard of Oz are absolutely false.” Well, to be fair, the reports merely stated that Warner Bros. wanted Robert Zemeckis to direct the remake, which seems to actually be confirmed via this report. Additionally, PopWatch seems to think that, because Zemeckis was the studio’s first choice for director, the project will either be moved to the back burner or abandoned altogether. Obviously, I’m pulling for the latter, but I’d feel a lot better if the source had said ‘nobody’ is doing The Wizard of Oz remake.

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  1. Ben ,I live this areticle, it sums up everything that’s gone to S@#! in Hollywood. This is oe of the true classics that should never be revisisted in the form of a shamelees remake. What a damn shame.

    • You sounded like the original is going to be gone forever! Relax, I trust Robert Zemeckis!

      • Are you kidding me dude. You want this done?

      • Kissjonez is right. Remakes DON’T harm the original in ANY way. I’m not saying I want, but it’s not like the studio will burn every single copy of the classic when this film gets released.

        • I agree, it doesn’t “harm” the original, but it’s still bad form. Crappy remakes water down the IP and leave a bad taste in one’s mouth.

        • Remakes don’t harm the originals, but they weaken the American film market to the extreme. It’s getting to the point where Hollywood movies are a joke to film connoisseurs around the world. Personally, I would like to be proud of American films, but whatever.

    • Thanks, Anthony. Appreciate the support.

    • Are you kidding, Have they actually run out of things to make movies about that they would take a classic
      and make another movie out of it. One word LAME!!

      • Answering Chiboy’s question (“Have they actually run out of things to make movies about that they would take a classic
        and make another movie out of it”)…I take it you haven’t been following the lame-arsed concepts reported here by SR about movies based on the board games “Ouija” and “Battleship” (not to forget the hopefully-abandoned ViewMaster movie)?

  2. Uggggh!!! Money is the root of all evil (and poorly done remakes).

  3. You all act like you didn’t know this was coming. It is just a fact of life that Hollywood is wanting to remake every single movie ever produced. I am personally waiting for Big Top Pee Wee and Howard the Duck.
    I have liked a lot of the remakes. Some don’t touch the originals but some look way better. I am glad that they are going to stick with the original screen play. That was the only thing I didn’t like about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It stuck closer to the book than the original but the music was just stupid. I could live with the fact that it was the same Ompa Lumpa over and over but the music was awful. The rest was great. Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street were great. The only thing that sucked about them is that we already knew how it turned out. I loved Halloween 2. All in all, We are off to see the Wizard and I am down.

    • I agree about the Horror remakes; everybody always seems to diss on the new versions of Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St., and Halloween, saying how the originals are so much better. In all honesty, I’m really starting to think all this hostility stems from the fact that most people, and especially critics, are overly biased towards the originals cause they grew up with them, they’ve loved them from their childhood, and they can’t past this attitude of “How dare they desecrate my childhood memories?!” in order to actually compare the movies unbiasedly. When I found out all the above remakes were coming out, I purposefully went out and watched every single entry in the original franchises before watching the remakes, and while I loved the title characters themselves, the rest of the movies, well, kinda sucked, and I felt that the characters, especially Freddy, deserved better than the movies they had so far gotten. Those original films had contrived and ridiculous plots, crappy and oh-so-horribly-fake-it -made-me-wince effects, just plain bad acting on the supporting cast ( or “victim’s”) parts, and the camp, oh the campiness of it all. As someone who actually used to be so scared by horror movies that I would have trouble sleeping for days, sometimes weeks after seeing one, watching these classic originals was the first time that I found horror movies that didn’t actually scare me… At all… Not one teensy little bit… They might’ve been scary 20 years ago, but today they don’t even come close, and combinations of all the above factors make them more amusing and almost comedic to watch than anything. The remakes, meanwhile, I found to be several times over more effective as horror movies, more scary, with better plots, better acting, and, most importantly, way better effects and a way better look to the film; and again, I watched the remakes AFTER watching all the originals. If anything, these horror remakes Needed to be done, because unlike classic movies in other genres that can remain relevant and effective over the years, the majority of remakes, as time goes on, become less and less scary and less effective with each passing generation… And I don’t know about you, but I refuse to sit by and let Freddy, Jason, and Michael become so pathetic, so irrelevant, so ridiculous and ineffective that they become nothing more than laughable jokes to my grandchildren’s or great-grandchildren’s generations. So I applaud the directors behind these remakes, and thank them for goving these iconic characters a more relevant place among modern horror and helping them to become actually scary again to the current generations, something they’ll actually have nightmares about after watching instead of just trying to keep from laughing at while it’s playing. And you nausayers out there need to update your mindset and try to see these movies, both old and new, through the eyes of the currant and future audiences, and then honestly think about which ones are more effective Now and will continue to be so for the next 20 years.

      • UMM, they’ll be contiuing to be REMADE every 6-7 years or so anyway. It wont matter 20 years from now at this rate, or mindset. Have you lost sight of the fact that the power players in Hollywood lost ALLL sense of creativity?

      • I can’t read that huge block of text, but the one part that got me was “the original films kinda sucked.” I just–I just don’t know how to respond to that!

      • I will never say that the original Horror movies sucked. At least past part 3 of any of those. After that they just got awful. The originals were great. I liked the new Nightmare and Halloween. The new Friday the 13th was complete garbage. Oh Gee, lets see how many people we can kill in 1hr and a half. Remakes are not a bad thing but never lose sight of where these movies come from. They may not have had the tech to do these movies justice when they were originally filmed but the ideas and scripts are nothing to turn our noses up at. They were awesome enough to make multiple sequels, 1 crossover, and reboots for all.

        • I’m not sure I get the comment “they may not have had the tech.” Each of those movies practical horror effects were far more effective in their subtlety than have the CGIed stuff we see today.

  4. I think this is one Classic they should leave alone. I am a huge Wizard of Oz fan and have passed my obsession on to my daughter and she to her daughter. Maybe we are a sad lot, but to remake this movie would ruin decades of tradition for many homes and families. We don’t need a remake of Wizard of Oz, how many people watch “The Wiz” year in and year out? How many people watch even the sequel “Return to Oz” everytime it is on? Tin Man was good, but it is a sequel set many years later as DG’s ancestor is Dorothy. I am all for bringing on the sequels, prequels and side stories you can make, but make them original. Maybe someday they too will become classics.

  5. If they are going to remake the Wizard of Oz, I would rather they go back to the original Baum source material, the book.

    The original book seems like a no-brainer to be reinterpreted as almost a horror movie or thriller. The Hammerheads scene alone from the book, realized with good production values, would be worth the price of admission. They could not do that scene in the original film due to the limitations of the technology, running time constraints, budget, and of course the sensibilities of the public at that time.

  6. Hollywood is disgusting now a days.

    Just think of your own idea and make something new.

  7. Ugh, I can’t believe they’re remaking this classic film AND mandating that everyone who enjoyed the original watch this version and wipe the 1939 version from their memory using that laser thing from Men in Black!

    Oh wait, they aren’t doing that. If you don’t want to see this movie, just don’t see it.

    • Biting Sarcasm, indeed. 8)

      Vic

    • eye original was classic this new 1 is gonna blow

    • How could you even suggest that we don’t see a remake of a movie we don’t want remade? What basis would we have to come on here and fuss about it if we don’t see it? Oh… yeah… Screen Rant… Never mind. :)

  8. Why don’t they just do a massive re-release into theaters? I bet tons of people would go see a remastered version. I would. That would look great with todays exhibition standards!

    • They did a one night only re-release not too long ago. It was amazing seeing it restored on the big screen in surround sound.

    • No, they would look s*** by ‘today’s exhibition stnadards’ which are crap when you compare them to 35mm projection. HD sucks unless it was shot that way. No one wants (or cares) about a dumb re-release, we have HD TV sets at home now and we can watch them there.

  9. I would rather see a remake of the “Wizard of Mars” instead!:D

  10. Return To Oz is GOOD. Check it out again.Dark as hell,and bery inventive.I hope the other oz projects mentioned are as interesting.The one I’m NOT interested in is a straight remake.

    • oops! I meant VERY inventive.

    • I love Return to Oz. Did someone say they didn’t?

      • I think it was mention somewhere above, not sure by who.

  11. no one should be against remakes,

    • No one should be pro remakes

  12. Hahaha. Wow. I am so glad that this is looking like it’s not going to happen. I mean, who in their right mind would actually remake a Classic movie like The Wizard of Oz? And if they did, who would actually see it? Nobody.

    Lets see what else they can remake: It’s A Wonderful Life, The Godfather, Goodfellas, Citizen Kane, Soylent Green.. Who else wants to get in on this list of Classic movies that Hollywood can ruin?!

    … Actually, if it was a great script, great director and great cast I can see a remake of Soylent Green being good lol.

    • You know that actor in “The Godfather”, he was kind of method actory and mumbled a lot. Maybe we can get Seth Rogan to play him and the kiddies will come. His sons could be played by Justin Timberlake and Justin Beiber because they kind of look Italian too! /sarcasm

      • whats truly scary is that could really happen.

  13. Not all remakes are bad. Yes, most of the horror remakes stink, just cashing in on a name. It should be said that many projects announced and many fizzle out into nothing.

    I don’t think it’s a good idea to touch “the classic” Wizard Of Oz. But let’s play fair. There have been, as pointed out “sequels” and related “Oz” stories. Same thing with “It’s A Wonderful Life”. The themes of alternate paths of characters have been explored time and time again.

    So, I don’t quite get this rant.

    By the way…while Zemekis is not interested, if he were and did Wizard like his recent films? Motion capture backgrounds and all? The film would have more of an animated feel to it

    • The point of the rant is this: Classics such as this one should NEVER be touched ever. Let Hollywood continue remaking trashy films, but not this all time classic. It’s just wrong.

    • “I don’t think it’s a good idea to touch ‘the classic’ Wizard Of Oz. But let’s play fair. There have been, as pointed out ‘sequels’ and related ‘Oz’ stories. Same thing with ‘It’s A Wonderful Life.’ The themes of alternate paths of characters have been explored time and time again.”

      Exploring similar themes via different stories and characters and ideas isn’t the same as a remake, though. Adapting the sequel book–NOT remaking–known as The Return to Oz is, again, not remaking anything. I never ranted against sequels and I never ranted against movies that have themes that are similar to other movies.

  14. I think tim burton should be the director! He did awesome on the classic alice and wonderland! I think he would make a great director for this! He is very creative! I wonder what he would do with it!

  15. This one requires all caps…

    THE WIZARD OF OZ SHOULD NOT BE TOUCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Remakes just mean that there aren’t any good screenplays anymore. Creativity has gone out the window. What do they hope to gain by remaking the perfect movie, that even given it’s age withstands the test of time. If it aint broke, don’t fix it.

    • It’s not that there aren’t good screenplays anymore, it’s that studios don’t value screenwriters, so no one’s actively (truly) attempting to write good screenplays. Back in the 70s, screenwriters were appreciated far more and paid far more. Now, screenwriters aren’t paid much and their ideas are bastardized by studio notes, etc.

    • “Remakes just mean that there aren’t any good screenplays anymore”.

      I’m sure that the writers of “Memento” [Jonathan Nolan from the short story "Memento Mori" and Christopher Nolan, screenplay] would beg to differ…

    • No, remakes just = better odds of getting their investment back at the box office.

      Vic

  17. If they go with this, I want a “From An Original Idea By Dan Lister” credit on the screen:

    Dorothy Gale, a 16-year-old Kansas farmgirl being raised by her cattle-baron Uncle Henry and her Facebook-blogging Auntie Em, is knocked unconscious during a tornado. She, her laptop computer nicknamed “Toto”, and the bed-and-breakfast Em runs are apparently swept up in the storm and dropped into the magical Land of Oz, where she sets out on the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard of Oz to return her to Kansas. During her journey, she meets a Scarecrow wearing castoff Ralph Lauren, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion who join her, hoping to receive what they lack themselves (a brain, a heart, and courage, respectively). They are pursued by the Wicked B*tch of the West, who wants her dead sister’s magic Jimmy Choos, now worn by Dorothy. At the end of the film, Dorothy finds herself back in her own bed at the farmhouse in Kansas, where her aunt tries to convince her that she dreamt her adventures in Oz because she got into Uncle Henry’s moonshine…

  18. Yeah, this would be pretty terrible. Glad to read the update. The idea of any mainstream actors who would currently be cast makes me gag a little. Even RDJ, whom I generally love.

  19. well when Robert Zemeckis finally reveals that he is directing the Remake of The Wizard of Oz, so far my Chioces are Will Ferrell for The Scarecrow and Owen Wilson as The Cowardly Lion,if I had to chose who will be Dorothy Gale my Choices should be Dakota Fanning,Rachel Hurd Wood and Emmy Rossum. now for The Tin Man I have Chosen Brad Garrett due his Character Robert Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond and Johnny Depp due to fact that he could Portray The Tin Man like Edward Scissorhands but with a mixure of action and Comedy with a few traits borrowed from Captain Jack Sparrow and J. M. Barrie from Finding Neverland.now for Glinda The Good Witch I picked Meryl Streep Because she could Combine her Character Miranda Priestly and her character of Donna Sheridan together as one Person my otner choice is Anne Hathaway because of her character The White Queen in The Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland but the diffence should be that she is Obsessed with Goodness so much it practically oozes out of her however she feels pity out the Jealousy of The Wicked Witch of The West. now my Chioces for you guessed it The Wicked Witch of The West are Cate Blanchett,Helena Bonham Carter,Emily Blunt. so here are my Cast Chioces for The Wizard of Oz Reboot P.S Toto should be a Persian white or Himalayan cat and not a dog. plus for Dorothy Gale she is not a Goth but more like Nancy Drew but Just around the age of 15 or 16 and a blonde or Brunette and Just be a nice and cute but headstrong girl who is more then good looks as she has a good heart as well. so here are chioces feel free to browse though them and send me a message if you like it, thanks.

  20. I’m sorry but i just have one question: Who on earth would be willing to step into those red slippers? What actress would be stupid enough to try and tackle Judy Garland’s most iconic role? Judy Garland was and still is a legend with no match and I cannot imagine anyone who could even come close to matching her vocals, even with all of the technical wizardry and cheats a production studio can come up with today. This project is laughable and just plain embarrassing for them. A remake of this movie would be laughed out of town.

    You just shouldn’t remake classic films. I can understand remaking forgotten, little known or foreign language films – although I do prefer original films. But remaking something that is much loved and still watched is just ridiculous, the original will always be regarded as superior.

  21. Is this a lack of good scripts? I mean: we’re getting to the point the scripts are not changes at all. Correct me if I’m wrong, but if your not adding anything to the original story, what’s the point of telling it again? Another thing: it was fun and original at the beggining (back there with X-Men) telling the “start” of everything, but that’s also getting a little out of control.

    PS: “Oz: the great and powerful” is happening. Wish us luck.

  22. NO, NO, NO!!!!!!!!!! DO NOT REMAKE THIS MOVIE! I’m sick and tired of Hollywood remaking movies. Hey writers can you say IMAGINATION? I don’t think so because you don’t even know the meaning of the word. Quit stealing ideas that have already been done and come up with your own. Oh wait that involves thinking and thinking is work so that’s out of the question. Sigh guess we’ll have to make do with rehashes of movies, what’s next remakes of the Abbott and Costello movies?

  23. I’ve actually kind of been wanting a WOO reboot but based 100% on the book so it could be different and keep people a little more interested also with the new graphics we have these days and It could be a little more darker but I feel if they stay with the same sreenplay it’ll just get boring IDK

  24. I agree that there is NO original movies anymore. They are just remakes or rip offs from an original movie. I would however like to see a remake of the Wizard of Oz only if they follow the original book word for word and scene by scene. Then I’d like to see the rest of the original 13 books in the made into movies!