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Brad Pitt in World War Z

Despite its troubled production, 2013’s World War Z managed to be a commercial success for Paramount Pictures. Its $540 million worldwide haul made it the highest grossing zombie movie of all time, and shortly after its release, Paramount gave the green light to a sequel. But in the years since, World War Z 2 has been hit with numerous setbacks, and today brings word that it’s hit its biggest one yet, as the studio has pulled the plug on the project.

This latest update comes from The Playlist, which reported that Paramount Pictures decided to shut down World War Z 2 last night following several months of pre-production. Supposedly the sequel’s budget was part of the problem, as director David Fincher and his team were planning to make World War Z 2 for less than World War Z’s budget of $190 million, the amount before the extensive reshoots occurred. However, Collider’s own sources state that World War Z 2’s budget was actually going to be more than its predecessor’s original budget, and that Fincher refused to budge on the amount. So there are conflicting claims regarding money, and it’s also unclear how long these budget issues had been brewing.

In early 2017, Paramount announced that World War Z 2 wouldn’t come out until 2018 or 2019 at the latest. A few months later, David Fincher officially signed on to direct, but his work on the Netflix series Mindhunter resulted in the fall 2018 filming start date being pushed back to this upcoming summer. Until last night, the plan was for principal photography to stretch across five countries, including spending six months in Atlanta, Georgia. Now all of that has been scrapped, with other issues that reportedly came into play including how long had passed since World War Z came out and how the sequel couldn’t be released in China since the country bans zombie-related content.

Now the big question is whether World War Z 2 is dead for good or if, like the classic zombie, it will rise back to life in the future. If Collider’s report is accurate, David Fincher is now off the project, although apparently star Brad Pitt is still attached. Perhaps Paramount might revive World War Z 2 if it finds a new director that can deliver a unique follow-up within the budget that the studio prefers, but for now, it’s back in development hell.

2018 was a mixed year for Paramount financially. Both A Quiet Place and Mission: Impossible - Fallout exceeded expectations with their respective hauls, but on the flip side, Bumblebee and Annihilation, both of which received positive critical reception, underperformed at the box office. So it does make sense if Paramount’s leadership was concerned about World War Z 2’s budget and decided to put it on ice and focus on other high-profile projects (Star Trek 4 not being one of them). Last month, the studio gave the green light to Mission: Impossible 7 and Mission: Impossible 8, which will be filmed back-to-back and see Christopher McQuarrie sitting in the director’s chair again.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for any updates on World War Z 2’s ultimate fate. In the meantime, look through our 2019 release schedule to find out what movies are on the calendar for this year.

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