The big screen history of World War Z is one of the most fascinating stories of a troubled production in recent memory. The $190m zombie blockbuster was constantly plagued by behind-the-scenes issues, leading to extensive rewrites and reshoots that saw the entire third act of the movie reworked almost from scratch just months before it was due to hit theaters, despite a big battle scene already having been shot at great expense.
Surprisingly, then, World War Z turned out to be a huge success, earning solid reviews from most critics and scoring $540m at the box office, leading Paramount to announce a sequel soon after. Unfortunately, though, the follow-up suffered from many of the same issues as its predecessor, with original director J.A. Bayona leaving the project, to be replaced by the surprising choice of David Fincher. The pic sat in stasis for almost three years before it was officially canceled in February despite pre-production already being underway, with reports indicating that one of the main factors was that World War Z 2 had no chance of securing a release in the lucrative Chinese market.
The filmmaker behind Fight Club and The Social Network always seemed like an odd fit for a studio blockbuster about the undead, too, especially given the famously meticulous preparation that Fincher puts into all of his work. Nobody was particularly surprised when the movie fell apart, but star Brad Pitt, who was instrumental in convincing Fincher to sign on to World War Z 2 in the first place, would still love to make the movie with his Seven director one day.
“It was good. It was really, really good. We had a really good story, which he shepherded. Really strong story. The things he had planned for it hadn’t been seen before. I’m sure he’ll get it out in something else.”
While it seems almost impossible at this point that we’re going to see David Fincher direct a $200m, effects-driven genre movie, both he and Brad Pitt have significant sway in the movie business, so it can’t be completely ruled out just yet. There’s little doubt given Fincher’s filmography that World War Z 2 would be unlike any other zombie movie we’ve ever seen though, while Pitt’s career has shown that he’s an actor that isn’t afraid to take risks, either. As such, we’ll keep our fingers crossed.