New Line is in early development on a horror film set in the iconic world of L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.”
The studio, a division of Warner Bros., has bought an untitled pitch by screenwriter Mike Van Waes. The project isn’t set up with a producer yet.
“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was published in 1900 and adapted into a successful musical in 1902. As with the 1939 movie starring Judy Garland, the story follows a girl named Dorothy in Kansas who lives on the prairie with her Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and dog. A tornado carries Dorothy and Toto to a magical land to battle the Wicked Witch of the West.
Baum’s story has been adapted numerous times, most recently in Disney’s 2013 fantasy adventure “Oz the Great and Powerful,” starring James Franco.
Along with Blumhouse, New Line has been on a roll over the past four years with modestly-budgeted horror hits. Its films include the two “Conjuring” movies, with each grossing more than $300 million worldwide; a pair of “Annabelle” spinoffs; “Lights Out,” which grossed $150 million worldwide; and its adaptation of Stephen King’s “It,” due out Sept. 8.
Van Waes sold his Black List script “Hammerspace” to Warner Bros. last year. The story focuses on a terminally-ill teenager looking for answers about his missing father who finds a key that unlocks an opening to an alternate animated dimension. Van Waes also set up a movie version of his project “Peeves” at Fox Animation last year, with Temple Hill producing.
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Van Waes is repped by CAA, Grandview, and Bloom Hergott.