“Wicked” Wows CinemaCon with Ariana Grande, Cynthia Erivo Footage

Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande, Michelle Yeoh, Jeff Goldblum and “Bridgerton” breakout Jonathan Bailey star in Jon M. Chu’s two-part musical epic.

Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande

Cynthia Erivo, Ariana Grande

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Somewhere over the rainbow, two former college roommates battle each other like witches.

The first shots of the highly anticipated “Wicked” movie musical debuted at CinemaCon 2023. The footage was introduced by Universal president Donna Langley, who emphasized that the footage on display was very much a work in progress and not “ready for the big screen”.

Cynthia Erivo plays Elphaba, who later became known as the Wicked Witch of the West due to bad PR. Ariana Grande plays Glinda, who was dubbed the Good Witch after the duo’s personal clash. We’ve seen the first shots of Erivo in green as Elphaba, but there’s also an early rendering of the Emerald City, the Yellow Brick Road, flying monkeys and a glimpse of Dorothy. There was plenty of singing and dancing, and on came the first moments of Erivo’s soaring performance of “Defying Gravity.” Jon M. Chu appeared in a sizzling reel to discuss its scope, in which they said they’ve built 9 million tulips and are building an entire world to complement the sophisticated visual effects.

Jon M. Chu directs the two-part film adaptation, based on the iconic “Wizard of Oz” prequel Broadway show of the same name. Winnie Holzman, who received a Tony nomination for best book of a musical for the original Broadway production of “Wicked,” returned to write the screenplay.

The ensemble cast includes Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard, Michelle Yeoh, Jonathan Bailey, Adam James, Keala Settle, Bowen Yang, Bronwyn James, Ethan Slater and Colin Michael Carmichael. Amanda Seyfried previously revealed that she auditioned for the role of Glinda before Grande was cast.

The first half of “Wicked” will debut on Christmas Eve 2024, and the second half will hit theaters exactly one year later, in 2025.

“We decided to give ourselves a bigger screen and make not just one ‘Wicked’ movie, but two! Chu wrote in a 2022 Instagram post announcement of the decision. “Having more locations allows us to tell the story of ‘Wicked’ the way it was meant to be told, while bringing even more depth and surprise to the journeys of these beloved characters.”

Chu previously shared a first look at the sprawling production, which features lavish costumes and Technicolor sets.

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