In an unexpected twist, Paramount’s 2013 blockbuster mash World War Z has shambled back from the dead and into the box office top ten. The action horror film, directed by Marc Foster and starring Brad Pitt was released to generally positive reviews a little over 8 years ago, landing Paramount Pictures a fairly healthy (then) box office take of $540.5 million, against a budget of between $190 – $269 million. Just goes to show that you can’t keep a good zombie down.
Perhaps the resurrection (come on, low-hanging fruit; it was going to happen) should come as no real surprise, given the recent release of the eagerly anticipated A Quiet Place 2. The sequel to the smash hit A Quiet Place was released on May 28th and dominated the holiday weekend box office, with a pandemic-era record take; to the princely sum of $58.3 million. It seems that actor/director John Krasinski can currently do no wrong with the franchise – in fact if rumours are to be believed, a third film could already be on the drawing board.
It would seem that World War Z rode the coattails of A Quiet Place 2, just a little. While based on attendance figures alone, the statistics for World War Z become a little murky, however playing as part of a double feature with A Quiet Place 2 at drive-ins across the country, World War Z managed to earn a total of $448,000 at the box office last weekend. A number respectable enough to shove Mortal Kombat out of the top ten – but not enough however, to surpass Godzilla vs. Kong ($1.06 million) and Dream Horse ($639,636).
Originally released in June of 2013, there was hype aplenty surrounding World War Z. Based on the novel of the same name by Max (son of Mel) Brooks, there was as far back as 2007, a bidding war between the production companies of Leonardo DiCaprio (Appian Way) and Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment. Pitt would eventually secure the film rights, with Marc Foster signing on to direct a screen story by J. Michael Straczynski (best known for his television work on Babylon 5 and story contributions to Marvel Studios’ first entry in the Thor franchise).
In the film, Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane – a former UN field agent, called back onto the frontlines in order to investigate, locate the source of and help to stop a zombie pandemic.
The critical response to the film was generally favourable, however the loudest criticism was directed at the massive departure the film takes from the original Brooks novel. The book, released in 2006, was written more in the style of a fictional documentary, approximately ten years after the Zombie War culminated in humanity’s victory over the undead.
In the book, a fictionalized version of Max Brooks as Max the character spends his time traversing the globe, interviewing survivors of the zombie pandemic as a member of the United Nations Postwar Commission. This allowed for a rich tapestry of stories told by various characters, with the zombie pandemic as a backdrop.
A potential sequel was discussed, with Brad Pitt set to reprise his role, however this never came to fruition. A report by The Hollywood reporter suggested the Chinese government’s ban on films that featured zombies or ghosts was the primary reason that a World War Z sequel never quite got off the ground. As the recent box office figures show however, the Western appetite for all things undead is still, well, ravenous. This story was first reported at Uproxx.
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