Last weekend, The Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return recorded the worst opening ever for an animated film in more than 2,500 theaters. The film’s exec producer, Greg Centineo, a former Florida coffee shop owner who raised over $100 million from investors to produce this film and its followups, thinks he knows what went wrong.
“The project is not owned by a studio. It’s owned by individuals. Hundreds of people around the country and the world literally invested in this project. We’re nobodies in this industry. And we stepped into a deep, deep ocean, with some very, very big sharks. Some of those mainstream critics have not just trashed the movie, but literally tried to crush it. When you read how belligerent they are against the project – against the film – compared to the audience reviews, it speaks for itself. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out something is wrong there.”
Later in the inteview, Centineo attacks his film’s distributor, Clarius Entertainment for not doing their job:
“If you want me to be frank with you, I think the marketing of the project was anemic. It was done by Clarius – I’m sure you’ve read the article today about them. They have a potential flop with this. They definitely dropped the ball on promoting what seems to be a very loved film by people.”
Centineo is nothing if not an optimist and he believes that the film’s opening weekend was simply a “false opening.” Grosses will pick up this weekend, he says:
“So, now it’s about getting more awareness for the project. We’re doing that through a lot of viral sources and social media. I think the movie had an awareness problem in its opening weekend. We’re almost treating that like a false start or a false opening, in working toward this weekend. Hopefully, we’ll do better this weekend. I believe we can. I believe the movie can increase its box office as word of mouth gets around. As long as that happens, I think we can see this thing be respectable at the box office.”
And should it not do any better this weekend, Centineo has still got leftover money from his investors that he’s going to use to make two more Oz sequels and a TV series. (He claims that he raised over $100 million and that the film cost $70 million to produce.)