Burbank, CA, USA (June 4, 2013) /BusinessWire/ — Marking the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz, Warner Bros. has produced a 3D remastered version of the film which will launch a comprehensive, cross-divisional campaign encompassing theatrical, home entertainment, consumer products and a number of promotional partnerships.
Kicking off the celebration, The Wizard of Oz 3D will be presented in the immersive IMAX® 3D format and return to the big screen for an exclusive one-week engagement in IMAX® theatres across North America beginning September 20, 2013.
“We couldn’t be happier to partner with IMAX® as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of this iconic film,” said Dan Fellman, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures. “The Wizard of Oz IMAX® 3D Experience is an integral part of our studio-wide anniversary initiative and we are excited to give fans the rare opportunity to see this stunning version on the big screen.”
“The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved films of all time and we are thrilled that our longtime partners at Warner Bros. have made IMAX® a part of this exciting milestone event,” said Greg Foster, Chairman and President of IMAX®Entertainment. “This film revolutionized the use of color and special effects in cinema, and we’re excited to add another ‘first’ – bringing this timeless classic to moviegoers through the power of The IMAX 3D Experience® for the very first time.”
The IMAX® release The Wizard of Oz will be digitally re-mastered into the image and sound quality of The IMAX 3D Experience® with proprietary IMAX DMR® (Digital Re-mastering) technology. The crystal-clear images, coupled with IMAX®‘s customized theatre geometry and powerful digital audio, create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie.
“Seventy-five years later, The Wizard of Oz continues its reign as a multi-generational favorite, with nearly 100 percent awareness among adults and more than 80 percent awareness among children,” said Jeff Baker, WBHE Executive Vice President and General Manager, Theatrical Catalog. “In this new 3D version, the film is bound to make history all over again—with both past and future fans.”
The 3D conversion was a long and complex project which Warner Bros. initiated with a very high resolution (8k) scanning of the original Technicolor camera negative. The restored 2D image was then transformed by creating a depth-map of each frame to construct 3D imagery and determine distances from the viewer’s vantage point. This was followed by the long process (with the use of a rotoscope) to further refine viewer distances and fully layer shapes and objects.
“People have asked for years about The Wizard of Oz 3D conversion. My answer was always, ‘We’re not doing it until it’s perfect.’ And now it is,” said Ned Price, Warner Technical Operations’ Vice President of Mastering. “As a kid, I was so enthralled by this film. Watching it, you just want to enter the frame, enter the Land of Oz. This new version will allow you to do just that.”
Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s timeless children’s tale about a Kansas girl’s journey over the rainbow, The Wizard of Oz opened at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on August 15, 1939. The film was directed by Victor Fleming (who that same year directed Gone With the Wind), produced by Mervyn LeRoy, and scored by Herbert Stothart, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. DOROTHY™ was portrayed by a 4’11” sixteen-year-old girl who quickly earned her reputation as “the world’s greatest entertainer”—the incomparable Judy Garland. Ray Bolger appeared as the SCARECROW™; Bert Lahr as the COWARDLY LION™, Jack Haley as the TIN MAN™. Frank Morgan was seen in six different roles, including that of the wonderful “Wizard of Oz” himself.
The Wizard of Oz received five Academy Award® nominations1, including Best Picture (Outstanding Production), and captured two Oscars®—Best Song (“Over the Rainbow”) and Best Original Score — plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Judy Garland. The film was an overwhelmingly popular and critical success upon its initial release and repeated its ability to captivate audiences when M-G-M reissued the film in 1949 and 1955. The film made a new kind of history with its network television premiere in 1956 on CBS. Nearly 45 million people tuned in for this initial telecast, marking the beginning of an annual tradition. Ever since,The Wizard of Oz has been shown virtually annually on network (and then cable) television; its magical story and heartfelt performances have enabled it to grow from a perennial classic to its current status as a treasured icon of popular culture.