One of the most oft-adapted properties of all time is ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,’ a novel originally written by L. Frank Baum back in 1900. The reason behind this is two-fold: not only is it a highly engaging and well-told tale, but the novel actually entered into the public domain in 1956 – meaning that pretty much anyone at any time can take the characters and the story and adapt it into a new project without any repercussions of copyright infringement or the like.
There have been dozens of additional books written about Oz (including several by Baum himself), in addition to the story being fitted for use as at least two different Broadway musicals, multiple TV series, comic book series, and so much more. Recently, news has come from a new report that Warner Bros. is working on a new animated film set in the world of Oz – a retelling of the original tale, told from the perspective of Toto, the pet of main character Dorothy.
Warner Bros. has long had a stake in the world of Oz: they hold the home-video rights to the 1939 film adaptation ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,’ the most well-known adaptation and widely regarded as one of the best movies ever made. The new animated film will be based on the children’s book ‘Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz,’ written by Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark. In an interesting “public domain” twist, Morpurgo’s book was released in 2017, but in 2016 another book characterized with Toto as the central character and narrator – ‘Toto’s Story: My Amazing Adventures with Dorothy in Oz’ by Steve Metzger. No word on if the two books are related in any fashion, plot-wise or other.
The film adaptation is being written by Mark Burton, who has seen recent success in writing children’s films such as ‘Madagascar,’ ‘Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were’Rabbit,’ and ‘Gnomeo and Juliet.’ Jared Stern and Winsor Yuan will executive-produce the film, fresh off their recent work on the ‘LEGO Batman Movie’ and the ‘LEGO Ninjago Movie.’
No information on the release date of the film has yet been given.