Universal Moves Up Wicked Movie Release Date

03/14/2023 11:29 am EDT

Wicked: Part One is coming to theaters on Thanksgiving 2024, Universal Pictures announced today. That date -- November 27 -- is almost a month earlier than its previous announced date of Christmas (December 25) 2024. The long-anticipated film adaptation of the hit musical that turned The Wizard of Oz on its ear, as well as making Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth household names. The story centers on the relationship between Elphaba, a green-skinned witch that the audience knows is destined to become the Wicked Witch of the West, and her sister Glinda the Good Witch. 

The story, based on Gregory Maguire's novel novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, questioned the black-and-white nature of Glinda and Elphaba representing pure good and evil as had been previously recognized in the Oz canon. The musical, which first debuted on Broadway in 2003, has become a beloved part of musical theater, ultimately grossing over $1 billion in total Broadway revenue in 2016. The movie is expected to feature at least two new songs.

The decision to move from Christmas to Thanksgiving moves the film away from two other likely blockbusters: Avatar 3 and Sonic the Hedgehog 3. It seems likely that if Avatar stays on schedule, Sonic could move away, facing the same difficulty Shazam!: Fury of the Gods had with getting IMAX screens while there's a new James Cameron film out. Given how many times the second Avatar movie was delayed, though, Sonic will likely stay where it is until closer to the release date.

Last year, director Jon Chu shared the news that the movie would be getting split into two parts on social media. "Special Wicked Update / Thank you for all the support these past several months in anticipation of the WICKED movie," he told fans. "We have so many exciting things to share but for now I'm giving you one… or two, rather."

"Here's what happened: As we prepared the production over the last year, it became impossible to wrestle the story of 'Wicked' into a single film without doing some real damage to it," Chu wrote in a statement. "As we tried to cut songs or trim characters, those decisions began to feel like fatal compromises to the source material that has entertained us all for so many years. We decided to give ourselves a bigger canvas and make not just one 'Wicked' movie but two! With more space, we can tell the story of 'Wicked' as it was meant to be told while bringing even more depth and surprise to the journeys for these beloved characters."

Cynthia Erivo and Ariana Grande are starring in the film as Elphaba and Glinda, heading up a cast that also includes Jonathan Bailey as Fiyero, Jeff Goldblum as the Wizard, Michelle Yeoh as Madame Morrible and Ethan Slater as Boq.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the movie as coming from Disney.

h/t Variety

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