'Oz' puts MM Picture Studios in Pontiac on the movie-making map - KMSP-TV

'Oz' puts MM Picture Studios in Pontiac on the movie-making map

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PONTIAC, Mich. (WJBK) -

With stunning visuals and a class story, 'Oz the Great and Powerful" is a game-changer for the biggest movie studio in Michigan.

"Disney was going to take the movie up to Vancouver," said Sam Raimi.

But the Michigan-born director fought to bring the $200 million movie to his home state. "They allowed me to send a research party there for a couple of days. We explored the state's rebate program, and although it didn't quite equal Vancouver, I told them I was adamant we had to shoot it in Michigan."

The production spent $105 million in Michigan and put 683 people to work. "Oz was our maiden voyage here, but it was incredibly important," said Anthony Wenson, director of operations with the Michigan Motion Picture Studios, a facility that boasts seven sound stages and all the needed amenities for major Hollywood productions.

In 2012, the film "Black Sky" spent reportedly $12 million and employed 450 workers.

But with changes to the state's movie incentive program, staying busy hasn't been easy. "Sometimes you're up, sometimes you're down," said Wenson, citing the state's $50 million cap on film incentives.

"I'm proud to see a lot of Michigan workers who worked on that film," said Wenson.

Online: mmpicturestudios.com

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