For the briefest of moments earlier this year it seemed as though the long-gestating sequel to World War Z was finally happening. Against all the odds, David Fincher was still attached to direct, and production was gearing up to start this summer. What could go wrong? As it turns out, everything. According to Deadline, Paramount has pulled the plug on Fincher's sequel due to budget concerns.
Released in 2013, Brad Pitt starred (and produced) in the name only adaptation of Max Brooks' bestselling book. The production was plagued with problems throughout, the biggest of which resulted in an expensive rewrite and reshoot of the entire third act. Ongoing reports of tensions between director Marc Foster and Pitt raised further concerns over the film's box office potential.
A budget of more than $190 million plus the widespread production problems would surely equal a massive flop, right? In a surprise twist, World War Z generated $540 million globally becoming a modest hit. Paramount wasted no time getting a sequel in development and hired J. A. Bayona to direct. Three years on, Bayona departed to make Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, and Paramount announced that Fincher was taking over.
Brad Pitt and David Fincher have enjoyed a creative partnership that started with Seven back in 1995. They haven't worked together since The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in 2008, and I'm kind of glad they're not reuniting for a sequel nobody was crying out to be made. As a zombie movie that has nothing to do with the book, World War Z was alright, but where Paramount saw a franchise, many would see it as a lucky escape. The best way I can describe my feelings towards World War Z is it's like a meal you thought would make you psychically sick to eat, but you have a taste, and it's ok. Nothing mindblowing, you wouldn't want to eat here often, but it was fine, you ate as much as you could stomach, and you've kept it down. You don't want to take the leftovers home, and you're unlikely to return anytime soon, but it was alright
If World War Z is going to be adapted, surely it is far better suited to an episodic anthology format as that would allow for a more literal adaptation. It remains unclear if Paramount plans to put the project back in development or leave it on indefinite hiatus, but Fincher's version is officially dead.