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|Released||May 20, 2005|
|Duration||100 minutes (DVD), 87 minutes (TV)|
|Written by||Debra Frank, Steve L. Hayes (story and teleplay) / Adam Goldberg and Tom Martin (teleplay only) / L. Frank Baum (original story)|
|Music||Michael Giacchino (score and songs) / Adam Cohen and Jeannie Lurie (songs only)|
|Studio||Touchstone Television / Muppets Holding Company, LLC / The Jim Henson Company / Fox Television Studios|
Adapted from L. Frank Baum's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this latest retelling of the classic story follows Dorothy Gale (Ashanti) as she journeys through an Oz populated by Muppets to find the Wizard and become a star.
- Muppet Performers
- Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Eric Jacobson, Brian Henson, Kevin Clash, John Kennedy, Rickey Boyd, Tyler Bunch, Julianne Buescher, John Henson, Drew Massey, Allan Trautman, Alice Dinnean, Michael Quinn, Gord Robertson, Adam Behr, Jeny Cassidy, Geoff Redknap, James Rowley
- Human Cast
- Ashanti as Dorothy Gale
- Queen Latifah as Aunt Em
- David Alan Grier as Uncle Henry
- Jeffrey Tambor as the Wizard
- Quentin Tarantino as Himself
- C. Ernst Harth as Earl
- Dan Payne as Weatherman
- Kelly Osbourne as Herself (uncredited)
- Edward Hibbert as Theater Man (uncredited)
- Muppet Characters
- Kermit the Frog as the Scarecrow
- The Great Gonzo as Tin Thing
- Fozzie Bear as the Cowardly Lion
- Miss Piggy as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South
- Miss Piggy as the Wicked Witch of the West
- Miss Piggy as Tattypoo, the Good Witch of the North
- Miss Piggy as the Wicked Witch of the East
- Pepe the King Prawn as Toto
- Rizzo the Rat as Mayor of Munchkinland
- The Rats as the Munchkins
- Statler and Waldorf as the Kalidah Critics
- Sam the Eagle as the Gate Guard
- Johnny Fiama
- Scooter as Assistant to the Wizard
- Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker as Emerald City Technicians
- Small Speaking Roles
- Clifford, Animal, Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot, The Swedish Chef, Foo-Foo, Camilla, Bubba, Crow, Mulch, Lew Zealand (extended cut only)
- Background Characters
The film marked the first major project after the acquisition of the Muppets property by The Walt Disney Company, although the project had already been in development with ABC. At the time, the Jim Henson Company was consulting with Disney and developing new Muppet series and movies under a three-year production deal.
Since April 2004, the Muppets had been re-introduced to the public by way of low-key marketing and guest appearances on such shows as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Good Morning America and Saturday Night Live in hopes for a successful turn in the ratings by the time the new telefilm hit the air.
Further, print ads in various magazines, as well as guest appearances of various Muppets on America's Funniest Home Videos, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Tony Danza Show, Good Morning America and Live with Regis and Kelly helped to get the word out.
In addition, Ashanti unveiled six windows at Macy's on March 20, 2005, for promotional purposes. The windows depicted scenes from the movie in conjunction with the Macy's Flower Show. The Macy's flagship store offered Muppets' Wizard of Oz plush and a T-shirt depicting the main cast during the promotional period.
This film departs from the original Oz novel in a number of noticeable ways: Dorothy's family owns a diner instead of a farm; Toto is a prawn; the Tin Woodman is a robot. Many of the characters' personalities and backgrounds are given a show-biz makeover. For instance, this version's Dorothy dreams of being a famous singer, and at first she plans to ask the Wizard to give her fame rather than a way back to Kansas.
However, in several respects the plot follows the novel more closely than does the classic 1939 movie. For example, the Good Witch of the North (who greets Dorothy when she arrives in Oz) and Glinda (who shows her how to get home) are separate characters; the magic shoes are silver instead of ruby; when Dorothy defeats the Wicked Witch of the West, she gains control of the Flying Monkeys; and the Wizard meets with each of Dorothy's friends separately in a different guise.
Another note is that the Flying Monkeys are a biker gang, a trait that is reminiscent of The Wiz.
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz is not the only adaptation of the Oz mythos within a Muppet production, however. The Muppets Go to the Movies featured a sketch incorporating a medley of "If I Only Had a Brain" and "We're Off to See the Wizard", with Miss Piggy portraying the version of Dorothy played by Judy Garland, alongside the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Thing. Fozzie and Gonzo would play the Tin Man and Lion again in an episode of Muppet Babies and Kermit also starred as the Scarecrow. Additionally, Fozzie Bear portrayed the Tin Man in an episode of The Muppet Show.
Broadcast Premiere: May 20, 2005 at 8/7c on ABC in the US, and on CTV and CBC in Canada.
- Kermit makes a reference to Frank Oz in the film, when he asks the Wizard, "Would you, by any chance be related to Frank Oz?"
- At one point, Pepe references Disney's acquisition of the franchise when he's on the phone and says "Eisner, baby. If you think we're going for that deal, you're out of your Mickey mind!"
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (video)
- The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (soundtrack)
- Nanco Muppets' Wizard of Oz Plush