New Line Lands Horror Pitch Set in World of 'The Wizard of Oz' (Exclusive)

Van Waes - Publicity - P 2017
Courtesy of Van Waes
The pitch comes from writer Mike Van Waes.

New Line Cinema has scooped up a pitch from writer Mike Van Waes for an original horror film set in the world of The Wizard of Oz.

The project, which is in the early development stages, will have ties to the universe created in the 1900 novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum that was adapted into the classic 1939 film starring Judy Garland.

Baum's story — about a young girl and her dog who are swept away to a magical world where she teams up with the Lion, the Tinman and the Scarecrow to face off against the Wicked Witch of the West — has been adapted numerous times over the years and also used as inspiration for various film, TV and stage stories. Along with the 1939 film, there most recently was the 2013 Disney live-action film Oz the Great and Powerful starring James Franco, and the characters have appeared on the ABC series Once Upon a Time. On stage, there was the 1975 musical The Wiz, and another hit show with Wicked, which began in 2003.

New Line has released a successful string of horror films over the past year, including the huge hits The Conjuring 2 ($320 million worldwide) and Lights Out ($149 million worldwide on a $5 million budget). This year, the studio will release Annabelle 2 (due out Aug. 11) and the first feature adaptation of Stephen King’s It (Sept. 8).

Van Waes has sold several pitches and scripts in the past 18 months. His Black List spec Hammerspace is at Warner Bros., and he sold a book proposal called Peeves to Harper Collins,  which was picked up by Fox Animation through Temple Hill. Van Waes is repped by CAA, Grandview and Bloom Hergott.