After years of speculation and rumors about a sequel to World War Z, the Brad Pitt-starring sci-fi/horror film, The Playlist reports that the film is officially canceled. The film was slated to head into production later this year with David Fincher directing.
The outlet noted that the likely reason for the cancellation was a budgetary concern, despite Fincher and Pitt previously teasing that the film would be a much smaller scale than the original installment. That film, including reshoots, had a production budget closer to $200 million.
The reunion of Pitt and Fincher, having previously collaborated on films like Fight Club and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, made the upcoming sequel seem like a sure thing, with this news coming as a disappointment to fans. Earlier this year, Production Weekly revealed that the project would begin shooting this March with planned filming locations of Thailand, Spain, and Atlanta, Georgia.
The original film was based on the Max Brooks novel of the same name, which began production in 2011 with a budget of $125 million. The film's planned finale required a large array of firearms, which were confiscated by authorities in Budapest after the production failed to properly declare the props with the local government, which resulted in the film being delayed into the following year.
LOST co-creator Damon Lindelof was tapped to re-write the film's third act in 2012, only to depart the project before writing an ending. Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard then stepped in to finish writing the film, though his new ending required nearly 40 minutes of new footage to form a more cohesive narrative.
After all the re-shoots, the production budget ended up totaling closer to $200 million. The film had intended to hit theaters in December of 2012 and was eventually released in the summer of 2013. Despite all these starts, stops, and alterations, the film went on to earn $540 million worldwide, making it a success.
The original film's long production and delayed release might have initially been worth it, though with six years having passed since its release, the zombie subgenre has been reinvented in countless new and exciting ways, all while AMC's The Walking Dead continues to trudge forward. It's possible that, even with big names like Pitt and Fincher, the studio has found other properties to invest their resources in that are trending better currently. For instance, the studio recently announced two new Mission: Impossible films hitting theaters in 2020 and 2021, a series which has earned critical and financial success, in addition to quick production turnaround times.
A World War Z sequel could come together at some point for the studio, though this recent report implies the studio will be starting from scratch.
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