Friday, October 29, 2010

Fox-Cablevision fight shows the need for a la carte programming choice

News Corp.’s Fox Networks Group and Cablevision can’t agree on what Fox’s programming is worth.
If Fox programming were a consumer good like soap or blue jeans, the free market system would decide its value. Instead, since cable and satellite TV services bundle programming into packages, they have to guess what the value of the programming is to end users.
So for consumers to get one channel they really want, such as ESPN, CNN or Discovery, they have to purchase a bundle with a lot of stuff they don’t watch. This model subsidizes lots of programming that might not otherwise survive if people had to decide which individual channels to pay for.
As a Cablevision customer, I haven’t been able to watch the Fox network since Oct. 16 when Fox pulled two local channels from the service in a pay dispute. I’m missing World Series baseball, the NFL on Fox and the drama series “House.” My wife is missing “Glee.”
On its website KeepFoxOn.com, Fox notes that TNT gets $1 per subscriber and spends about 80% less on programming than Fox. But then again Fox also distributes its programming for free over the air to households with terrestrial TV antennas. However, less than 10% of U.S. households rely on over-the-air antennas to get their programming, according to Nielsen.
Sports channel ESPN receives $4 to $5 per subscriber, but it’s only available through pay TV providers.
Cablevision subscribers pay an average of $149 per month including up to $18 for broadcast stations, according to My Fox New York. But Cablevision’s offer for Fox 5 and My9 amounts to less than a penny a day.
These types of disputes are becoming commonplace. Cablevision’s customers have been caught in the middle of four such programming disputes this year, the Associated Press reports.
That’s one reason I’d like to have a la carte programming choices. I don’t like the idea of watching only a handful of channels but paying for hundreds.
With over-the-top TV services like Netflix and Hulu, consumers are finding alternatives to rising cable bills. Plus, Apple’s new video rental service allows consumers to rent shows for 99 cents an episode.
Cable and other pay TV services will fight a la carte programming tooth and nail. That’s because if people had more choice in what specific channels they subscribed to, they’d probably end up spending less.

Oct. 30, 2010, update: Fox and Cablevision have reached an agreement and Fox programming is back on the air.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lingerie Football nip slips and bare asses – a.k.a. wardrobe malfunctions


The most popular post ever on Tech-media-tainment is one I did on Sept. 5, 2009, on the start of the Lingerie Football League’s first season.
Like any good journalist, I found an angle that others were missing. The LFL features attractive women in bikini lingerie playing tackle football. At least one article about the first LFL game made a brief reference to “wardrobe malfunctions,” so I played that up in my article and found a photo to illustrate my point.
I wrote:

Just as fans of Nascar watch lap after boring lap of race car driving to witness an occasional wreck, spectators at the first Lingerie Football League game on Friday were hoping one of the beautiful lady players would lose a bra or panties during the action.
They got their wish Friday at the league’s debut game in Chicago.


I later posted an article on the second season of the LFL about two players getting pantsed.
Until today the only photos of LFL wardrobe malfunctions I’ve seen were players exposing their bare rear ends. But Pete Ray posted two photos Wednesday of breast exposure during what looks like the Oct. 23, 2009, game between the Los Angeles Temptation and the Dallas Desire. (See photos above and below.)
Ray posted the photos to his blog Life from All Angles in a set titled “Lingerie Football League Season 2.” But since Los Angeles and Dallas don’t play this season until Dec. 3, it’s clear that these pictures are from season one.
Nine of the photos elsewhere online are credited to photographer Ian Halperin for the UPI. I can only assume that he took the two nip slip (nipple slip) photos posted here.
Ray does not provide credit for the photos on his site, implying that he is the photographer. He also doesn’t provide any cutline or caption information to explain the photos. Not cool.
The interesting thing about the two shots discussed here is that one Dallas Desire player (top) went au natural under her bikini top, while another player (second from top) wore pasties, either to prevent indecent exposure or chafing.

Nov. 3, 2010, update: Busted Coverage yesterday posted two more LFL wardrobe malfunction photos. (See below.) These shots were taken by photographer Darryl Briggs of Dallas. Busted Coverage believes the photos are from the Sept. 3 game between the San Diego Seduction and the Dallas Desire.

Nov. 21, 2010, update: New LFL wardrobe malfunction photos here.



Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CollegeHumor: One of the best sites for original funny videos online

Yesterday I mentioned that the Onion News Network videos at TheOnion.com are among the funniest on the Web. Equally funny are those by CollegeHumor.
CollegeHumor does great movie parodies and humorous takes on pop culture. If only Saturday Night Live could have the same batting average for funny sketches.
I post my favorite CollegeHumor videos at One Stop Video.
CollegeHumor is owned by InterActiveCorp.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Web videos tend to expire

For a year starting in March 2009, I ran an experiment in video aggregation called One Stop Video.
I posted videos to the site from many sources – YouTube, Vimeo, NBC.com, Onion News Network, CollegeHumor, Funny or Die and others.
A good number of those embedded videos no longer work.
For instance, of the 64 videos I embedded on One Stop Video in January through March this year, seven of them no longer work. That’s 11% dead links.
I’m certain that the dead video ratio is just as bad for last year.
The reasons for the dead links include content owners pulling videos from their own sites and enforcing copyright restrictions on other video posters. (See screenshots above and below.)
That’s one of the big reasons that I decided to pull the plug on One Stop Video. There was no sense posting interesting and funny videos if they weren’t going to last.
Seven months later, I’ve decided to post videos to One Stop Video again. I’m doing this mostly as a way to compile my favorite comedy videos in one place. It sure beats bookmarks.
I had thought that I’d do this here on Tech-media-tainment, but it just wasn’t a good fit.
So check out this first bunch of videos from the Onion News Network on One Stop Video.
The Onion, which posts consistently funny content, hasn’t let its online videos expire like NBC.com and others.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SoundHound app is magical

I haven’t added many apps to my Apple iPhone. Among them are Twitter, LinkedIn, a few news services and JiWire’s free Wi-Fi hot spot locator.
The only app I’ve paid for is one that I love. It’s SoundHound, an app that can identify music playing on the radio, over a store’s loudspeakers or at a sports stadium. I’ve used it in all of those locations and more to identify music when I don’t know the artist or song title.
Since my car radio doesn’t have a supplemental data readout, I also use it sometimes while driving. Because DJs rarely name the songs they’re playing.
I tried out both SoundHound and rival app Shazam before deciding to buy SoundHound.
At a Halloween-themed pumpkin patch today I heard some music that sounded familiar. I used SoundHound to identify the music as the theme from the movie “Poltergeist” by Jerry Goldsmith.
I also used it today to ID the song used on a rousing commercial about fans of the NFL. That song is “Home” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.
I just tap on the app, it listens to the song, searches a database and identifies the artist and song title and provides other info like lyrics.
I can only describe how it works as magical. Well worth the $4.99 I paid for it.

Update: I later switched to Shazam and found the experience superior to that of SoundHound.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How corporations and the public benefit from works in the public domain

For the past week or so, I’ve been writing about the frequent use of popular stories and characters in the public domain by entertainment companies.
What follows is an index of those posts, which address how the public and media companies benefit from works off copyright and in the public domain.

Hollywood benefits from works off copyright and in the public domain (Oct. 12, 2010)

‘The Wizard of Oz’ by Annie Leibovitz (Oct. 13, 2010)

Gulliver’s Travels, Three Musketeers and other stories thrive thanks to public domain (Oct. 14, 2010)

Walt Disney built an empire on public domain works (Oct. 15, 2010)

Annie Leibovitz fairy tale photos for Disney (Oct. 16, 2010)

Book publishers also are mining the public domain (Oct. 18, 2010)

Even porn studios like public domain stories (Oct. 19, 2010)

I also wrote about copyrights and the public domain in a series of blog posts late last year.

The problem with modern copyright law (Sept. 2, 2009)

Horny artists like to sex up Disney, fairy tale art (Dec. 20, 2009)

How artists and the public benefit from creative works in the public domain (Dec. 24, 2009)

Public domain works of literature given new life in different media (Dec. 27, 2009)

Movies from public domain works like 'Sherlock Holmes' have built-in audiences (Dec. 28, 2009)

Photo: Reimagining of Cinderella tale by Platinum Image Conception Studio of Rio de Janiero.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Top 10 Mac OS X names Apple hasn’t used yet

Apple likes to name its Macintosh computer operating system releases after felines. Its latest, announced Wednesday, is Mac OS X Lion.
Earlier releases of Mac software were named Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger, Leopard and Snow Leopard.
Could Apple be running out of feline names for new operating systems? I say no.
When it comes to wild cats, Apple still hasn’t used lynx, serval, ocelot or caracal.
In August 2009, when Mac OS X Snow Leopard was released, I suggested – tongue in cheek – 10 possible cat names it had overlooked, including Felix, Morris, Salem, Toonces and Mr. Mistoffelees from the musical “Cats.”
I followed that post with five more possible names, including Cowardly Lion, Tigger, Hobbes and Mr. Bigglesworth from the “Austin Powers” movies.
Here are 10 more possible cat names (all new!) for upcoming Mac OS X releases.
You’re welcome, Apple.

1. Sylvester

Sylvester would be the perfect name if Apple intends to use some of its $51 billion cash stockpile to acquire microblogging service Twitter.
Why?
Because Sylvester is always trying to devour Tweety.

2. Courteney Cox

Following her recent separation from husband David Arquette, Courteney Cox, the 46-year-old star of ABC’s “Cougar Town,” is now the world’s hottest available cougar.
Bonus: Apple CEO Steve Jobs is on the board of the Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, and is the company’s largest individual shareholder.

3. Simba

Like Steve Jobs at Apple, Simba was ousted from his pride only to return triumphant.
And once again, since Simba is a character from Disney’s “The Lion King,” Jobs has an in.

4. Socks

With former Vice President Al Gore on Apple’s board of directors, using the name of President Clinton’s famed cat, Socks, would be a nice throwback to the Clinton-Gore era. Plus, he was the most likable character from the White House in those days.

5. Crookshanks

Steve Jobs likes to refer to Apple’s products as magical. So how about naming some software after Hermione Granger’s cat from the “Harry Potter” series of books about a boy wizard.

6. Chester Cheetah

Now that Apple is in the advertising business with its iAd platform, it might want to sell the name of its next Mac operating system release to Frito-Lay.
With Mac OS X Chester, it could advertise the software as extra crunchy and delicious.

7. Pussy Galore

By choosing the name of secret agent James Bond’s “Goldfinger” flame, Apple can tout a product that’s stacked (with features) and goes both ways (runs Windows as well as Mac programs).

8. Liger

Just as a liger is a hybrid mix of a lion and a tiger, Mac OS X Liger could combine parts of two different Mac products to create something unusual.

9. Bagheera

Who wouldn’t want a big panther looking out for them in a dangerous world?
It’s a jungle out there.
The character of Bagheera from Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” (1894) is in the public domain. But Steve Jobs would have to pull some strings to use Disney’s version of him.

10. Snowbell

Why Snowbell from “Stuart Little”? Because he’s so darn cute!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Even porn studios like public domain stories

Adult movie studios have free rein under the First Amendment to parody copyrighted creative works, such as TV shows and movies. But they still like to parody classics – including fairy tales – in the public domain as well.
So when the adult movie industry isn’t making X-rated parodies of modern entertainment like “Avatar” and “The Big Lebowski,” it’s doing parodies of classic tales.

Part 5: Porn studios put sexy spin on public domain stories

Perverts that they are, adult movie studios like to take innocent children’s stories and turn them into raunchy, sex-filled romps.
Snow White becomes “Ho White and the 7 Midgets” (1996) and Robin Hood becomes “Throbbin’ Hood” (2006).
This year alone has seen the release of two “Alice in Wonderland” parodies – “Erica McLean’s Alice” and “Alice: A Fairy Love Tale” – as well as parodies of Robin Hood and Little Red Riding Hood – “This Ain’t Robin Hood” and “Red Riding Hood XXX.”
The porn studios also have parodied the plays of William Shakespeare, including “Hamlet” (1999), “Romeo & Juliet” as “Juliet & Romeo” (1994), and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as “A Midsummer Night’s Cream” (2000), according to Adult DVD Empire.
Is nothing sacred?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Book publishers also mining the public domain



Hollywood movie studios aren’t the only ones profiting from works in the public domain. Publishers have gotten into the act too, reworking classic novels into new books, graphic novels and comics.

Part 4: Classic stories with a modern twist

Literary works in the public domain can be reprinted by anyone.
As such, they’re like generic drugs.
When medicines come off patent protection, generic drug makers are able to make those drugs without paying fees to their creators. The inventors of the drug benefited from government protection for a limited period of exclusivity. During that time, inventor companies are able to build up brand names and develop enhancements to those drugs.
And when those medicines go off patent, the public benefits from cheaper products and innovations by other companies.
That was the original intent behind copyrights for creative works, too. But then lobbyists convinced lawmakers to extend copyrights seemingly forever.
The length of patents hasn’t changed. They still run 14 to 20 years.
But copyrights have been stretched to extremes. Originally, copyrights lasted 14 years, with the right to renew for another 14 years.
Now, copyrights for works before 1978 run 95 years from their publication date. Works published in 1978 and after can be protected by copyright for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. And for works created for hire (such as by a media company), the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication.

Mashups, graphic novels and new technology

One of the great things about works in the public domain is that artists are able to create bold new takes on old stories without having to seek permission from copyright holders.
The examples of this are everywhere.
Philadelphia-based publisher Quirk Books created the “mashup” trend of blending public-domain works with horror stories. It added hordes of flesh-eating zombies to Jane Austen’s 19th-century comedy of manners, “Pride and Prejudice,” to create “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” in 2009. (A movie version is in the works, Geektyrant reports.)
The mashup book was a hit and soon spawned “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.”
Now other publishers are getting into the act. HarperTeen came out with “Little Vampire Women” and Del Rey produced “Little Women and Werewolves,” both based on “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott.
Gallery adapted Charlotte Bronte’s “Jayne Eyre” as “Jayne Slayre.” (EW reported on the copycats.)
Cracked.com parodied this trend recently. It predicted that the next fad would be to take classic horror novels and remove the horror. For instance, “Dracula” would become “The Castled Happenstance of John Harker.”
Another trend is turning classic books into graphic novels, according to the Huffington Post. Many of the adapted works are from the public domain, including “Crime and Punishment” (1866), “On the Origin of the Species” (1859), “The Jungle” (1906), “The Metamorphosis” (1915) and the Bible.
Technologies unimagined of years ago also are giving public domain works new life.
Consider media tablets like Apple’s iPad and electronic book readers like Amazon.com’s Kindle. They’re offering people the opportunity to experience books in brand new ways.
Some publishers are finding ways to sell public domain works by adding interactivity and new artwork.
Consider “Alice in Wonderland” for the iPad. Publisher Atomic Antelope is selling its colorful, illustrated, interactive book for $8.99 for the iPad.
PadWorx Digital Media turned Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” into an interactive book with over 600 illustrations plus original music and soundscapes and effects. It’s selling the revamped public domain e-book for $4.99.
Then there are video games. Electronic Arts is working on a sequel to “American McGee’s Alice,” which is based on “Alice in Wonderland.” The new game is called “Alice: Madness Returns” and promises the same dark, mature atmosphere as the original game. It’s due out in 2011.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is now selling “The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road” game for Nintendo’s DS handheld device. The game was developed by Xseed Games.

Photos: The covers of classic lit-horror mashups “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” and “Little Vampire Women” (top). Also, the “Alice in Wonderland” e-book for the iPad and the “Alice: Madness Returns” video game (bottom).


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Annie Leibovitz fairy tale photos for Disney

In 2007, Walt Disney Co. began running a series of advertisements featuring modern celebrities as classic Disney movie characters. They’re all based on stories in the public domain, including Snow White, Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland.
The photos were created by Annie Leibovitz. The Disney Dream Portrait Series can be seen at Miss Geeky, Just Jared and Fanpop.

Note: This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s article on Walt Disney’s use of stories and characters off copyright and in the public domain.

Photos: Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella (top) and Rachel Weisz as Snow White.

Disney built an empire on public domain works

It’s well known that Walt Disney built his media empire using fairy tales from the public domain. He started with his first feature-length animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” in 1937.
He followed that with “Pinocchio” (1940), “Cinderella” (1950), “Alice in Wonderland” (1951) and “Sleeping Beauty” (1953). Disney put his own spin on all of those tales and created some terrific family entertainment.
But today the Disney corporation is one of the staunchest proponents of extending copyright lengths. Whenever Mickey Mouse’s first film “Steamboat Willie” (1928) is nearing the end of its copyright protection, Disney unleashes its army of lobbyists and lawyers to convince lawmakers to extend it.

Part 3: Disney mines public domain gold

Disney is still mining the public domain for works that it can capitalize on.
The studio is scheduled to release an animated feature called “Tangled” on Nov. 12 that’s based on the tale of long-haired princess Rapunzel.
The CGI-animated movie features the voice talents of Mandy Moore, who plays the heroine in the story, and Zachary Levi from “Chuck.”


Director Tim Burton is working on live-action movie for Disney called “Maleficent.” It will take the classic story of Sleeping Beauty and put the focus on the villain. Angelina Jolie has been rumored for the lead role.

Disney also is moving forward on a live-action reimagining of the classic fairy tale “Cinderella” that will be written by Aline Brosh McKenna, Deadline.com reports. She’s the scribe behind “The Devil Wears Prada” and “27 Dresses.”

Plus, Disney is developing a live-action Snow White movie called “Snow and the Seven,” which is being directed by Francis Lawrence.

Disney isn’t the only movie studio looking for gold in public domain children’s stories.

Relativity Media is working on a dark, edgy Snow White movie called “The Brothers Grimm: Snow White,” possibly with Tarsem Singh (“The Cell”) as director. Meanwhile, Universal is developing “Snow White and the Huntsman,” according to Vulture. So, that’s three Snow White movies in development.

Warner Bros. is working on a live-action movie of “Pinocchio,” according to Geektyrant.

The SyFy cable network is prepping a new TV movie called “Neverland,” which will be a four-hour prequel to the story of Peter Pan, Geektyrant reports.

But wait, there’s more. Director Tommy Wirkola (“Dead Snow”) is working on a film called “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters.” The movie will show what happened to Hansel and Gretel 15 years after the gingerbread house incident. They’ve become bounty hunters specializing in tracking down and killing witches.
Meanwhile, a rival production called “Hansel and Gretel in 3D” is getting under way, Geektyrant says.

Then there’s “Red Riding Hood,” starring Amanda Seyfried. The werewolf movie is being directed by Catherine Hardwicke and also stars Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen and Julie Christie. “Red Riding Hood” is scheduled to hit theaters on April 22, 2011.
Not to be outdone, SyFy is doing a take on Little Red Riding Hood for a TV movie called simply “Red.” It stars Felicia Day in the title role. She plays the descendent of the werewolf-hunting family from the classic fairy tale.

This is the latest in a series on how Hollywood and the public benefit from works off copyright and in the public domain.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gulliver’s Travels, Three Musketeers and other stories thrive thanks to public domain

Hollywood movie studios, major book publishers and other content companies love to adapt works in the public domain.
These works often have instantly recognizable titles, characters and stories, so they have a built-in audience. As such, they’re much easier to sell to the masses than stories people are unfamiliar with. Plus, the companies don’t have to pay royalties or licensing fees to use the works.
This year, we’ve already seen Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland,” Warner Bros.’s “Sherlock Holmes” and Universal’s “Robin Hood.”
They are based, respectively, on a fantasy book from 1865, a series of detective stories first published in 1887, and a tale from English folklore. All are free-to-use stories in the public domain. They’re part of our shared culture.
These stories have perpetuated thanks to the public domain. Otherwise there would not be as many adaptations.

Part 2: Classic novels revisited

Director Paul W.S. Anderson (“Resident Evil”) is currently making a 3-D movie version of “The Three Musketeers,” which is based on the 1844 tale by Alexandre Dumas. The film will star Milla Jovovich (see on-set photo below), Orlando Bloom and Christoph Waltz. It’s set to hit theaters on Oct. 14, 2011.

The Jules Verne novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” (1869) is being adapted for Disney by director David Fincher as “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” Co-writer Randall Wallace said it will have “more heart and a more realistic lucidness” than what you’d normally expect from a fantasy film, according to Geektyrant.
Disney filmed the best known adaptation of the book to date as “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” (1954), starring Kirk Douglas and James Mason.

Out this Christmas is “Gulliver’s Travels” starring Jack Black. It’s a takeoff on “Gulliver’s Travels” (1726) by Jonathan Swift. In this version, Black plays modern-day travel writer Lemuel Gulliver who takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Lilliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens.

Director Alex Proyas (“The Crow” and “Dark City”) is working on a film adaptation of the 17th-century English poem “Paradise Lost” by John Milton. The movie will center on an epic war in heaven between archangels Michael and Lucifer.

Director Julie Taymor has filmed William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” starring Helen Mirren, Russell Brand and Alfred Molina. It’s set to open on Dec. 10.

Also in the works are new movies based on “Treasure Island” (1883), “The Scarlet Pimpernel” (1903), “Don Quixote” (1605), “Arabian Nights” (1706), “The Mysterious Island” (1874), “The Raven” (1845), “Dracula” (1897) and “Tarzan” (1912).

And of course, Warner Bros. is prepping “Sherlock Holmes 2” for a Dec. 16, 2011, release. Robert Downey Jr. returns as Holmes, with Jude Law as Dr. Watson. Jared Harris, Stephen Fry and Noomi Rapace also have been cast in the sequel.

This is the latest in a series on how Hollywood and the public benefit from works off copyright and in the public domain.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

‘The Wizard of Oz’ by Annie Leibovitz

Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz paid homage to “The Wizard of Oz” in a photo series for Vogue magazine in December 2005.
The fashion spread featured actress and model Keira Knightley as Dorothy and modern artists as the various other characters. You can check out the series at Fairytales & Dreams.
For another take on “The Wizard of Oz,” check out the mashup below of Judy Garland’s Dorothy and Milla Jovovich’s Alice from the “Resident Evil” films. It’s a poster for a fake movie called “Wizard of Oz 2” with the tagline “She’s Off to Off the Wizard.”

Note: This post is a follow-up to yesterday’s article on artists taking advantage of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” being off copyright and in the public domain.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hollywood benefits from works off copyright and in the public domain

As much as Hollywood movie studios and other content companies try to lock up artistic works through copyright laws, they benefit a great deal from works in the public domain.
Just look at all of the movies, musical theater, books and video games in production that are based on works freely available to adapt from the public domain. These are older works that were once protected by copyrights, but those protections have expired.
I’m a proponent of rolling back the length of time works can be locked up by copyrights. The terms are too long under current U.S. copyright law. The general public, artists and even media companies would benefit greatly from more works (books, movies, music, etc.) entering the public domain.
Copyrights used to be on equal footing with patented inventions. But while the length of time patents are covered has stayed the same, copyrights keep getting extended, thanks to forceful lobbying by media firms.
Unfortunately the works in the public domain are those published before 1923. Everything after that is locked down by copyright extensions. Some in Congress would like to see copyrights extended forever, but that’s not what the framers of the Constitution had in mind.
What follows are some examples of derivative works based on literature in the public domain. They show the creativity that is unlocked by the freedom to reexamine older works in a new light.

Part 1: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The children’s book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” (1900) by L. Frank Baum has been turned into movies, theatrical productions and other works since entering the public domain. The hit Broadway musical “Wicked” (2003) is one of the best examples.
The original story inspired the classic MGM musical “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), as well as countless other movies, cartoons and books. They include the dark fantasy film “Return to Oz” (1985) and the SciFi Channel’s “Tin Man” (2007).
More big-budget “Wizard of Oz” adaptations are on the way.
Andrew Lloyd Webber is producing a musical theater production of “The Wizard of Oz.” The show will include the much-loved songs from the 1939 musical, plus new songs by Webber and Tim Rice.
While the original story of “The Wizard of Oz” is in the public domain, the songs and script from the Oscar-winning classic are not. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and other tunes will have to be licensed.
Performances start Feb. 7 in London.
Also on the horizon is a four-hour mini-series called “The Witches of Oz,” based on Baum’s book series.
The fantasy-comedy follows Dorothy Gale, now a successful children’s book author, as she moves from Kansas to New York City. Dorothy soon realizes that the dreams on which she based her books were actually childhood memories.
The mini-series features Christopher Lloyd as the Wizard of Oz and co-stars Mia Sara, Lance Henriksen, Jason Mewes and Sean Astin.
Meanwhile, Sam Raimi, director of “Spider-Man” and “Drag Me to Hell,” is on board to direct “Oz: The Great and Powerful,” according to Geektyrant. Robert Downey Jr. is in talks to play the Wizard in this prequel to the events of “The Wizard of Oz.”
Drew Barrymore is poised to direct a sequel to “The Wizard of Oz” called “Surrender Dorothy,” says Pajiba.
And porn film director Jeff Mullen, a.k.a. Will Ryder, is planning an X-rated parody of “The Wizard of Oz,” called “Not the Wizard of Oz XXX.”

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