With the news about production delays, re-writes, and re-shoots, World War Z surprised movie pundits when it outperformed box office expectations this past weekend. The zombie film grossed a reported $66 million domestically, in addition to $45.8 million internationally. Over the three-day weekend, World War Z grossed a total of $111.8 million worldwide for producer Brad Pitt, director Marc Forster, and Paramount Pictures. The zombie action thriller did so well that Paramount is officially developing a sequel film.
World War Z is now Brad Pitt’s highest-grossing debut film to date. Originally envisioned as a trilogy, World War Z ran into production problems late in the film’s shooting schedule. This led to Brad Pitt bringing on screenwriters Damon Lindelof (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) to completely re-write the film’s third act and ending. If you’ve seen World War Z, you can tell that the movie makes a harsh tonal and narrative shift two-thirds into its running time.
Because of this weekend’s success, Paramount is returning to World War Z’s initial plan to become a new trilogy and film franchise. Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore told THR why he thought the film performed so well this weekend. “I think the movie captured the public’s imagination with something that is fresh and different,” says Moore. “And certainly, Brad gave a superb performance.”
There are plenty of stories to mine for a World War Z sequel. According to Brad Pitt, “there is enough to mine from the book. We could barely get a fraction of the book in.” Based on Max Brooks’ novel, World War Z the film is a globe-hopping story exploring a worldwide zombie outbreak, whereas the book is presented as an oral account of the lead-up and aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. The film’s ending is pretty open ended, so the production team can really go in any direction for the sequel.
You can watch the World War Z‘s theatrical trailer below: