After spending years in the DC Extended Universe, Zack Snyder is jumping back into the realm of zombies with his upcoming movie Army of the Dead, which had spent over a decade in development hell. Fortunately for Snyder, the project finally moved forward when Netflix picked it up, and according to the Justice League filmmaker, the meeting during which the streaming service acquired Army of the Dead was pretty wild.
Because Army of the Dead was announced in 2008, a time when streaming was still in its infancy, originally the plan was for Warner Bros to distribute the movie as a theatrical release. However, according to Zack Snyder (who previously directed 2004’s Dawn of the Dead remake), the studio ultimately decided not to move forward with the project over either financial concerns or not taking it seriously. Years later, Snyder found himself in the Netflix offices, leading to the following exchange, as he recalled to EW:
We were in a meeting at Netflix and I was talking about some of these scripts I was working on. And I mentioned the idea to [Netflix head of original films Scott Stuber] and he was like, ‘That is the movie! Go write that movie and let’s make it.’ I was like, ‘What, do you mean now?’ And he’s like, ‘Go write it tomorrow and we’ll do shoot it in a week.'
So Zack Snyder didn’t even visit Netflix to specifically pitch Army of the Dead; it just happened to come up in conversation, and Scott Stubbier was so enamored with the idea that he wanted to start filming as soon as possible. And Army of the Dead isn’t just a one-and-done story for Netflix either. There’s another live-action movie on the way called Army of the Dead: The Prequel, as well as an anime series titled Army of the Dead: Lost Vegas, which is also set before the events of the main movie.
Perhaps there’s a reality where Warner Bros was more confident in Army of the Dead, gave it the green light and released it years ago. In our reality though, the movie will not only be a straight-to-streaming offering, but the world that Snyder envisioned has been expanded upon. So things arguably worked out better in the long run, though it remains to be seen how Army of the Dead will be rank among Zack Snyder’s other cinematic endeavors.
In the world of Army of the Dead, zombies come into existence due to a plague from Area 51 being released, though the U.S. government manages to contain the outbreak by building a wall around Las Vegas. The movie will see a group of mercenaries entering the quarantine zone to seize the money left over from at least one of the city’s casinos, if not several. The main cast includes Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana de la Reguera, Garret Dillahunt, Raúl Castillo, Omari Hardwick and Tig Notaro.
Netflix hasn’t announced Army of the Dead’s release date yet, so stay tuned to CinemaBlend for that information. You can look through our 2021 release schedule to learn what movies are supposed to play in theaters later this year.