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Many Michigan connections to the new "Oz" movie

by
From L-R) Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, actress Abigail Spencer, actor James Franco, actresses Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Joey King, Rachel Weisz, actor Zach Braff, producer Joe Roth and director Sam Raimi pose for a picture at the premiere of the Disney movie ''Oz the Great and Powerful'' at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California February 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Patrick Fallon
From L-R) Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, actress Abigail Spencer, actor James Franco, actresses Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Joey King, Rachel Weisz, actor Zach Braff, producer Joe Roth and director Sam Raimi pose for a picture at the premiere of the Disney movie ''Oz the Great and Powerful'' at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California February 13, 2013. Credit: Reuters/Patrick Fallon

HOLLYWOOD, CA (WKZO) --"Oz the Great and Powerful" was pretty magnificent at the weekend box office. A prequel to the 1939 classic, the fantasy starring James Franco as the future Wizard of Oz soared to a 80-point-three-million dollar debut weekend to open at number one. "Oz" cost Disney an estimated 200-million-dollars to make.

It was almost entirely shot on sound stages in Pontiac, Michigan back in the day when big budget films could get incentives to match in Michigan. It was directed by Detroit’s Sam Raimi, a Michigan State University grad.

The original author of the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”,  L. Frank Baum spent his summers from 1898 through 1910 at a waterfront cottage near Holland, Michigan, and based some of the features of Oz on attractions of the day in that part of the state. The “yellowbrick road” was reportedly his version of the then cobblestone streets of Holland.

It's the biggest opening for a movie in the U.S. since "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" earned 84-million-dollars in its opening weekend. 

In a distant second place was last weekend's #1 film, "Jack the Giant Slayer", earning 10-million. 

 "Identity Thief" was third with six-point-three million, followed by "Dead Man Down," and "Snitch," to round out the top five. 

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