With the benefit of hindsight, all of the drama involved in getting World War Z to the big screen probably was worth it. As of mid August, the film had grossed nearly $200 million in the U.S. Rumor has it, the sequel to the film (which was always intended to be the first in a trilogy) is likely to be produced by Brad Pitt and Paramount Pictures.
The film, based on a 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks, tells the story of U.N. investigator Gerry Lane (played by Pitt), who is called back into service after a worldwide pandemic occurs, turning infected victims into zombies.
Here are just a few of the challenges that were a part of the making of the movie:
• Originally, the film had a different ending. However, Paramount executives Marc Evans and Adam Goodman did not like the original cut, as both men felt that it was incoherent and abrupt. They brought in producer Damon Lindelof (of Lost and Star Trek fame) and he suggested to them either to add new scenes to improve the coherence of the film or do a complete third-act rewrite and risk needing to have additional resources and reshoots. Eventually, Lindelof and Drew Goddard rewrote the screenplay to create the new third act, which made the movie less brutal and ended it with a glimpse of hope.
• The rewrite was almost 60 pages long and cost an additional $20 million more to film.
• A total of 85 prop machine guns, rifles and pistols to be used for scenes filmed in Hungary were confiscated by counter terrorism customs officers in Budapest after being flown in from London. Hungarian authorities said the guns could be activated by removing the screws filling the end of the barrels and Hungarian law considers weapons to be deactivated only if the process is irreversible.
• Various sources claim the film went way over its initial budget. In addition to the reshoots, the discovery of a number of purchase orders that had been misfiled while the team worked in Malta led to a cost overrun in the millions of dollars.
World War Z is available starting September 17 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.
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