If you have been diligently waiting for a sequel to the 2013 Brad Pitt-starring zombie blockbuster World War Z, you have been waiting in vain. The Playlist is citing “sources close to the project for years” that studio Paramount has decided to shelve the film after it has spent years in development.
There are several contributing factors to the studio having cold feet in moving forward. The budget is certainly one, though by all accounts, director David Fincher was looking at spending less than the previous film’s final $190 million (thanks to a reshoot of the film’s third act) price tag. It should be noted that Paramount, which doesn’t make quite as many films as the other major studios, has just committed a large amount of money to their plan to shoot Mission: Impossible 7 and 8 back-to-back for release in the summers of 2021 and 2022.
The studio also recently drydocked a planned next installment in their rebooted cinematic arm of their Star Trek franchise.
World War Z 2 had gone through a difficult development period. While Paramount was glad that the original film turned a profit, they were not so thrilled with the fact that it had started production without a completed script which ultimately resulted in reshooting the film’s third act to the tune of an additional $70 million. Initially the studio hired J A Bayona to direct with Steven Knight contributing the screenplay. A June 2017 release date was staked out, but abandoned when Bayona left the project in January 2016. It took the studio nearly a year and a half before Fincher was brought on to direct in April 2017. But Fincher’s work on his television series Mindhunter further delayed the film from getting in front of cameras.
But then again, the original film had some birth pangs as well. Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote the initial drafts adapting Max Brooks’ bestselling 2006 novel. When Marc Forster was brought on to direct, Straczynski’s drafts were set aside in favor of an entirely new screenplay from The Kingdom scripter Matthew Michael Carnahan. It was a move that self-professed Babylon 5 fan Brooks was less than enthusiastic about. As the original slowly moved towards getting a greenlight from the studio, Paramount was concerned about the budget and ultimately teamed with Skydance to co-produce the film.