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Lea Michele’s ‘Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return’ Marks Box-Office Debut for Clarius Entertainment

The 3D animated family musical is the first release for the marketing and distribution company

Lea Michele will be singing at Clarius Entertainment’s coming out party at the box office this weekend.

She’s voicing Dorothy in the 3D animated family film “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” the first release from the two-year-old marketing and distribution company.

It’s not expected to challenge “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” or “Neighbors” for No. 1, but getting that first film into the marketplace is milestone for the Clarius team. It will be in a healthy 2,641 theaters, impressive for a first outing.

“We can’t be more pleased with the way exhibition has embraced us and given us their full support on our first picture,” said Michael Pade, distribution president at Los Angeles-based Clarius, told TheWrap.

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The debut is a little bittersweet, however. Marketing veteran Geoffrey Ammer, who was president and chief executive of the company, died in September of 2012. His memory is very much on the minds of the young company’s staff as they go into their first box-office weekend.

The Clarius team includes creative marketing chief Andrew Williams, acquisition head Louise Chater and Claire Heath, who’s handling publicity. William Sadleir is founder and chairman of the new company, which is part of the Clarius Capital Group.

In addition to this weekend’s opener, the company has two other films set for release this year. The Rob Reiner-directed comedy “And So It Goes” stars Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton and is scheduled to open on July 11. The Nicole Kidman-Colin Firth thriller “Before I Go to Sleep” is set for Oct. 24. Mark Strong co-stars.

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“Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return” from Summertime Entertainment is inspired by Frank L. Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” and the adventure book series written by his great-grandson, Roger Stanton Baum. “Dorothy’s Return” finds her back in the Kansas home that was devastated by the same tornado that whisked her over the rainbow.

Most of the familiar Oz characters are in this one. Kelsey Grammer voices the Tin Man, Dan Aykroyd the Scarecrow, Jim Belushi is the Lion and Bernadette Peters pipes up as Glinda. Martin Short, Hugh Dancy, Patrick Stewart, Megan Hilty and Oliver Platt give voice to new characters.

Bryan Adams wrote original songs for the movie, which is directed by Daniel St. Pierre and Will Finn and produced by Summertime founders Ryan Carroll and Roland Carroll and Bonne Radford.

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Clarius would like to see a first weekend in the low-teen millions for the PG-rated “Legends of Oz,” which was produced for $70 million, low by animation standards.

That could be tricky, with “Amazing Spider-Man 2” aiming for the family crowd and Fox’s “Rio 2” still in more than 3,000 theaters in its fifth week. But “Dorothy’s Return” will be the new kid on the block — just like Clarius.