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World War Z Director Marc Forster Will Not Return For Round Two

marc-forster-brad-pitt-world-war-zWorld War Z grossed $539.4 million worldwide to become the surprise box office hit this past summer. From all the reports about third act script re-writes and seven weeks worth of re-shoots, Brad Pitt’s zombie action movie turned out to be a halfway decent film. Considering that it could’ve been worse, Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard’s rewrites seemed to pull the film out of a tailspin in the eleventh hour. Although World War Z was a big success, at least one key player is not sticking around for round two.

According to THR, director Marc Forster will not helm the sequel that’s already in development. Forster and the film’s producer and star Brad Pitt butted heads during production, to the point where they refused to speak to each other during the last few weeks. Executives from Paramount had to come in and moderate discussions between the two. Given that, it’s not surprising that Forster declined to return.

Pitt says, “We are talking about it [a sequel]…We are going to investigate a script. We have a lot of ideas we will cull from. Nobody is writing just yet, but we are compiling our ideas.”

Production problems are laid at the feet of the director and not the producer, so it makes sense that Forster would get the boot. After all, Pitt isn’t going to fire himself from his most successful film franchise. You could credit Forster for eventually pulling World War Z out of harms way, but in the end, all the credit is going to go to the writers and the producers, rather than the director.

Sequel talks started as soon as the film almost topped its opening weekend with a $66.4 million gross. Pixar’s Monsters University won the weekend with $82.4 million, but the animated film was more developed with bigger general audiences in mind. Over time, World War Z continued to out-perform its competitors, while Paramount re-released the film in theaters as a double feature with Star Trek Into Darkness before both blockbusters found a new home on Blu-ray/DVD.

Although Pitt is searching for a script, many believe that a proposed trilogy will try to re-incorporate the missing elements from theoriginal ending. The film initially ended with an epic battle between Pitt’s Gerry Lane and roaming zombies in Russia. New films might also cherry-pick more elements from Max Brooks’ best-selling that served as the inspiration for the film—sort of. Either way, World War Z is here to stay, indicating that our world still has an unhealthy obsession with zombies and with seeing its own destruction.

I’m not a huge fan of World War Z. I feel the film has no tension and suspense after its initial action sequence, which admittedly is full of great moments and high tension. Once you get through the first 20 minutes, the film devolves into a limp “whodunit” narrative. That said, I welcome new blood with the developing World War Z film series. It can only help.

Any thoughts on who should write or direct a World War Z sequel?

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