HOLLYWOOD - In a bid to keep the property successful and relevant in the 21st Century, Turner Entertainment announced this week that the classic film The Wizard of Oz will be augmented with obscene language in preparation for a Summer theatrical release.
"Your old friends Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion are coming back to theaters nationwide," Turner spokesman Paul Wethering announced at a press conference Monday. "This time, with an edgy, in-your-face style that makes them more entertaining- and awesome- than ever."
Wethering then previewed a digitally revamped clip featuring Dorothy (Judy Garland), in one of the film's early scenes, denouncing Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton) as a "dried-out old cunt" while storming angrily from her home. Reporters in attendance hooted and applauded wildly at the new clip's modern sensibility. A second clip, featuring the population of Munchkinland singing "The house began to pitch/and crushed that fucking bitch" earned a similarly positive reaction.
Highly praised when first released in 1939, Oz gradually declined in relevance as society turned more profane, or "real." By the year 2010, the cultural gap became so severe that the film had to be fixed or abandoned forever, say those associated with the project.
"Market research told us that children find the film old-fashioned and boring," said the project's head, WB studio executive Andrew Matzursky. "Kids as young as four dismissed it as 'for babies' and 'total shit.' We realized it was time to amp up the all-important 'edge factor' that snags the key demos in the critical first weekend of release."
"There's nothing explicitly wrong with the film in its original state," Matzursky stressed, "but today's audiences crave the raw 'attitude,' and hearty gut-laugh, of the Mayor of Munchkinland shouting 'show us your tits' when Dorothy first arrives."
Compounding the cultural problem is that much of the film's humor represents archaic sensibilities and joke forms based on human nature and word sounds- vastly different from modern comedy's basis in anger and immediately topical references. "The original film contains far, far too much of the characters gently poking fun at their own foibles," Matzursky said. "But the new scene where the Tin Man screams 'gimme that goddamn oil, I'm stiffer than Jerry Sandusky at a scout jamboree,' well, that's just funny."
To correct the film's glaring shortcomings, state-of-the-art audio software was used to rearrange phonemes sampled from the film's soundtrack into fresher, more "kick-ass" dialogue, and the actor's mouths digitally manipulated to match the new lines. When altogether new footage was needed, costumed body doubles were overlaid with the original actors' faces, such as in the film's new closing number- a bump-and-grind dance performance to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem."
Though the film's box-office success remains to be seen, Matzursky said clips from the new version are focus-grouping very well: "The same kids who couldn't stand the movie before are laughing hysterically at the new scene where the Witch is tricked into drinking a 'protein shake' that contains the Cowardly Lion's semen."
To reassure fans of the original film, should any remain living, Turner Entertainment promises that essential story points will remain intact: "Earlier in the production phase, we experimented with changing the character of the Scarecrow so that he wants a dick instead of a brain," said Matzursky. "But, as hilarious as the new lyrics by Trey Parker and Robert Lopez were, we decided in the end that this would be overreaching." The new "dick" scenes will instead be edited into the "Un-Fucking-Censored Collector's Edition" Blu-Ray release of the film slated for November.
But it's the worldwide theatrical release that has Matzursky most excited: "Last year this film was a museum piece, a relic of film history. Now it has the potential to be another Transformers 3."