Brad Pitt will probably never fall beyond my second favorite actor of all time, should he ever drop down to number two. Note that I don’t think he’s the second greatest actor ever, but I consider him to be in the top 10 percent, and part of that is a proven track record for quality flicks, with some missteps more obvious than others. Quality notwithstanding, World War Z started off as the biggest film of Pitt’s career, with a bloated budget estimated at $220 million, and it will now end up the most financially successful film of his career, as it has now passed the $500 million mark worldwide. And while Giant Freakin’ Robot isn’t taking personal responsibility for this, we say with tongue firmly in cheek that it is the only film of his that we’ve covered extensively on this website. We like to think we’d have helped 12 Monkeys as well.
The obvious inflated elephant in the room is that ticket prices have obviously gone up, and though it had only a limited run in IMAX theaters, it still had the 3D upsale going for it.
But the other elephant making this a really uncomfortable room is that no one originally thought this movie was going to make its budget back, much less more than double it. With all the negative pre-release buzz regarding the troubled production and obvious changes from the source material, expectations were pretty grim, and yet it has become the biggest genre hit in a year full of them.
It tops Pitt’s former highest international grossing film, Wolfgang Peterson’s historical adventure Troy, which maxed out at $497.3 million. Now at $197.4 million domestically, World War Z had already beaten out the $186.3 million earned in the U.S. by Doug Liman’s husband-and-wife action comedy Mr. and Mrs. Smith. (I would have mis-guessed Ocean’s Eleven to have topped that list.) It also surpassed Mr. and Mrs. Smith‘s opening weekend numbers by $16 million.
At the beginning of the year, I definitely would have thought Pacific Rim would have beaten it out, but the exact opposite happened. Domestically, Star Trek Into Darkness made almost $30 million more, but almost $50 million less on a global scale.
In all of this, it’s worth noting that it is not director Marc Forster’s highest grossing movie, nor will it be, as 2008’s Quantum of Solace earned over $586 million. In a perfect world, James Bond will always defeat the zombies.
And even though World War Z wasn’t necessarily a great movie, at least it beat out Tom Cruise’s Oblivion, am I right? Sorry Joseph Kosinski.
Something tells me if Forster’s film had indeed stuck closer to Max Brooks’ original novel, as in the below parody video, it wouldn’t have made anywhere near as much. Although it also wouldn’t have cost as much.