Disney plans ‘Oz’ sequel

Scribe Mitchell Kapner will pen the follow up

Disney already is prepping a return to Oz. Studio has commissioned a follow up to “Oz the Great and Powerful” from screenwriter Mitchell Kapner, who co-wrote the first film with David Lindsay-Abaire.

While no plot details are available, Kapner can work with what’s featured in L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” which is in the public domain. But he can’t use any of the iconic creative additions from the original film — Dorothy’s ruby slippers, for example — as Warner Bros. owns the 1939 film.

“Oz the Great and Powerful,” which bows Friday, is considered a prequel to the earlier film. Disney declined to comment on sequel plans.

Kapner’s previous bigscreen credits include “The Whole Nine Yards” and “The Whole Ten Yards.” Grant Curtis and Joshua Donen also are producers on “Oz.”

The Mouse House tapped Kapner several months ago to work on the sequel, with the studio confident in the playability of the Sam Raimi-helmed film starring James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams. Fantasy pic has received mostly favorable reviews by critics and is expected to open around $80 million this weekend domestically.

Disney isn’t looking to wait too long to get a sequel into theaters, especially as it turns to well-established brands and characters as the basis for its high-profile tentpoles. Similar fantasy fare waiting in the wings at the studio include “Maleficent,” based on “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Cinderella.”

After Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” generated $1 billion, in 2010, it tapped Linda Woolverton to pen a sequel to that film.

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