Paramount is putting the brakes on the high-profile sequel to the 2013 film World War Z starring Brad Pitt. Production on the highly anticipated film was slated to start in June, but according to Indiewire, sources close to the film say that budget issues has brought the production to a halt.
The on-again, off-again movie was originally planned to begin filming shortly after the success of the original movie nabbed it $450 million worldwide. The original film was directed by Marc Forster, and J.A. Bayona was slated to direct the sequel to the film with a release date of 2017. By 2016, Bayona was off the film and negotiations with Fincher began, with the Fight Club director committed by February 2017.
The movie was slated to film in numerous locations around the world, including six months in Atlanta. But a $190 million budget apparently became a source of contention for the filmmakers, prompting Paramount to halt pre-production when Fincher wouldn’t budge on that number. Part of the issue is that the film would be R-rated and is a sequel to a film that was so long ago that many fans have moved on. It also wouldn’t be able to be released in China because the country has a ban on zombie-related content. All of these mean the film might not make as much money as investors hope.
The source also told Collider that Fincher is off the production, which leaves the door open to the potential that the film might resume production — yet again — sometime in the future, particularly since Pitt is reportedly happy with the script. There’s no word if the actor will stay on the film, however, since he and Fincher have such a long relationship with each other. The two have made three films together, including Se7en, Fight Club, and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button. If history is any indication, he will likely stick around given that he continued to appear in Moneyball even after his friend Steven Soderbergh was fired from the production.
Fincher has had an eye out for a big blockbuster film, but failed to get his first go with 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea off the ground at Disney. The World War Z looked to be the director’s next chance at a big production.
For now, Fincher fans can see his work on the small screen as Season 2 of Mindhunter on Netflix, which Fincher produces, arrives later this year. Fincher will also be working with Deadpool director Tim Miller to create an animated show for Netflix called Love, Death and Robots.