It’s been six long years since the Brad Pitt-starring, PG-13-rated, aggressively re-shot zombie opus World War Z. That’s long enough to assume the threatened sequel was either dead forever or would one day rise from the grave. Alas, it’s now been shot in the head. The Playlist reports that Paramount has officially given up on the follow-up — a cruel fate for a film that most people thought would be a disaster but which wound up being both pretty good and monster cash cow anyway.
The news isn’t only a bummer for fans of non-gory zombie movies you could probably show your grandmother; it’s a sock in the gut to anyone stoked for a Brad Pitt-David Fincher reunion. World War Z 2 (or whatever better title it would have had) was to be the star-director duo’s first team-up since The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and it would have presumably been even more fun watching Pitt destroy zombies than it was watching Pitt watch Edward Norton destroying Jared Leto in Fight Club 20 years back.
So why is it dead? As per the report, studio heel-dragging for one thing. For another, there was the death of Paramount CEO Brad Grey in 2017, robbing the studio of a critical World War Z ally. Either way, it came as a shock, seeing that there were plans to begin shooting this year, with a six-month stint already being planned in Atlanta, on top of trips to five other countries.
The Playlist piece claims that Pitt is “not a happy camper,” but neither, surely, is Fincher. The acclaimed filmmaker has been involved with the project since at least 2017, and he waited for Paramount to get their stuff together for so long that he went and oversaw two seasons of the Netflix show Mindhunter, some of which he directed personally. This isn’t the first time Fincher has spent years at work on a major tentpole production that eventually died: Disney also killed his 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea redo, to star Channing Tatum. The last feature film he made was Gone Girl, in 2015.
There was plenty more material for a World War Z sequel, given that the source — which takes the form of a faux-oral history of an undead outbreak, and how it was contained — offered plenty more stories and far-flung locations from which to cull. (Author Max Brooks, let’s not forget, is also the deeply serious son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft, who it seems is more like mom than dad.)
The Playlist piece speculates on one other possible reason for World War Z 2’s demise: Paramount wants to allocate more of its money for the forthcoming two Mission: Impossible sequels — a franchise starring Pitt’s onetime Interview with the Vampire co-star Tom Cruise. Perhaps the Lestat-Louis rivalry is back on. Oh well. At least we’ll always have the World War Z video game.
(Via The Playlist)