These days, the zombie genre has seen a bit of a dip in relevance after the market has become highly oversaturated, with a number of television series, films, and video games depicting a number of takes on a zombie apocalypse. 2013’s World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, came on the scene just as the zombie market was flooded, breathing new life into the genre by redefining the entire zeitgeist surrounding the undead creatures. World War Z is currently available to stream on Paramount+.
World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, features the fastest, deadliest zombies in movie history and it’s now streaming on Paramount+.
World War Z premiered during a massive moment in Brad Pitt’s career. Coming straight off the heels of a number of massive film outings, including the final chapter of the Steven Soderbergh Oceans trilogy, The Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading, Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, and starring alongside the late James Gandolfini in 2012’s Killing Them Softly, Pitt was one of the hottest commodities Hollywood had to offer. Though the leading man has always been a massive get for any studio film, this was a particular moment in the sun for Brad Pitt.
In addition to his leading role, Brad Pitt also served as a producer of World War Z through his production company Plan B Entertainment, which originally secured the film adaptation rights to the novel of the same name in 2007. Though the film’s script underwent a series of changes that eventually took its subject matter in a significantly different direction than the book, it was initially based on the 2006 novel written by Max Brooks. The screenplay was written by Lost Showrunner Damon Lindelof, Matthew Michael Carnahan, and Drew Goddard.
Under Brad Pitt’s production umbrella, World War Z was directed by Quantum of Solace filmmaker Marc Foster and began filming in the Summer of 2011. Due to a number of budgeting and production setbacks, the film was forced to undergo massive last-minute rewrites and reshoots, causing some to estimate that the film is the most expensive zombie film of all time.
Luckily, World War Z managed to strike a chord with audiences, bringing in more than $540 million against an estimated production budget of $190 million, marking the film a massive financial success.
The Brad Pitt version of World War Z is wildly different from the Max Brooks (son of Mel Brooks) novel, but it was a huge hit.
World War Z centers on Brad Pitt’s Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator who becomes trapped in a massive traffic jam in the heart of Philadelphia when the initial zombie outbreak occurs. After scrambling to escape the rapidly declining city with his wife and young children, Lane determines that a zombie infection takes only 12 seconds to complete after receiving a bite, making World War Z zombies some of the fastest and deadliest in the genre’s history.
After making their way to safety aboard a US Navy vessel in the middle of the ocean, UN scientists demand that Brad Pitt’s character come out of retirement to help them determine the root cause and possible cure for the outbreak.
This sends Pitt and his team of Navy SEAL handlers on a mission across the world, landing them first in the heart of South Korea, where zombie sightings were first reported. Before long, the team begins tracing the virus’s origins through a number of other foreign locations, such as Israel, where Pitt learns that zombies will bypass hosts with preexisting medical conditions as the virus finds their bodies unsuitable hosts.
Brad Pitt was in the middle of a string of successes when he made World War Z, which was released in between Killing Them Softly and 12 Years A Slave.
Though the film received mixed reviews from critics, general audiences absolutely loved World War Z, crowning it as a genre-defining film. The movie has been parodied and referenced in a number of pop culture staples since its release, including South Park in a 2013 episode titled “World War Zimmerman.”
Plans were originally set in motion for a sequel, bringing back Brad Pitt, though budgeting constraints eventually caused the project to fizzle out in 2019. With no known references to any future installments in the World War Z franchise at this time, there seem to be no active plans to get a sequel back off the ground, though perhaps things could change once the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strike finally come to an end. In case you missed it, World War Z is available to stream on Paramount+ today.