World War Z could rise from the dead to represent a huge $200 million winning gamble for Paramount Pictures — and lead actor Brad Pitt’s star power is likely the reason.
What’s surprising about that is a lot of pre-release publicity for the film suggested that it would be a huge, stinking, $200 million dollar flop. Vanity Fair and others reported that the troubled production may have gone much further over budget than anyone realized.
Some observers even asked if Brad Pitt had finally lost his golden touch.
Now, with the official release set for Friday, film pundits are beginning to acknowledge that World War Z could triumph despite its costs, thanks to Pitt’s enduring ability to draw the crowds.
The Los Angeles Times said that six months ago, the film appeared doomed. They said that rumors had compared it to Paramount mega-flops like John Carter.
However, the tireless Brad Pitt hasn’t sat back and waited for the money to roll in. He has been out there swinging, with a marketing campaign that has included everything from a Superbowl spot, a $50 mega-ticket package, and more.
LAT is now predicting that World War Z will do just fine:
“Studio executive are predicting an opening of $35 million to $45 million; forecasters say it’s more likely to land with $55 million. If word of mouth keeps new audiences coming, the film could end up with a domestic total approaching $150 million. That, and a strong international total, could put Paramount and its partners at respectability, if not profitability.”
The UK’s Guardian essentially agreed, although they seemed angry about it. In a piece on the film’s success subtitled “another blockbuster turkey that refuses to die,” their film blog said:
“[A]s the world looked to be assured of a brain-dead classic — [World War Z] put on an entirely gratuitous show of coherence, pulled its third act together and Pitt singlehandedly pushed the whole thing over the finish line.
“No fun at all.”
Maybe not, but as a resident of New Orleans, I was pulling for Brad Pitt all along. More power to him if he turns World War Z into a big winner.
[detail World War Z movie poster courtesy Paramount Pictures]