Marc Forster’s zombie epic, World War Z (review), has not had the easiest of productions, and stories and rumours have meant that issues with the films production have been reported, and often blown out of proportion. That has not stopped the film being a mighty success this weekend in the US, and the Brad Pitt starring and produced flick has blown all expectations out of the water!
Paramount were expecting a $40 million opening weekend for World War Z in the US, but on Friday alone the film has taken a whopping $25 million. While this was not enough to take the top spot from the other big US opener this weekend, Monsters University, it was enough to secure second place, and World War Z is now expected to finish the weekend on $60 million, making it the biggest ever opening weekend in star Brad Pitt’s career. The closest he has come to such an achievement was with Mr and Mrs Smith in 2005, which grossed just over $50 million in its first weekend.
This basically means that World War Z, despite the production issues, has been a huge success. Anyone who has seen the film will be expecting sequels due to how the film finished, and months ago is was reported that this would be the start of a trilogy. Brad Pitt recently spoke about a possible sequel:
“There is enough to mine from the book,” Pitt told The Hollywood Reporter.
“We could barely get a fraction of the book in. So we’ll see. We’ll see.”
Pitt could not comment on whether he would return, however director Marc Forster was not as enthusiastic about a sequel, simply stating: “Let’s see how this goes,” he said. “We hope this movie goes well, and we shall go from there.”
Forster also reflected on the making of World War Z during a break from promoting the film in Russia, per Deadline:
“I never went through anything like that, not on Quantum Of Solace, not on anything,” Forster said during a break from promoting WWZ in Russia. “I would read that Brad Pitt and I had no communication, and we would look at each other and say, where could this come from? Is somebody just making up these stories? When articles like those come out and start spreading, it causes you to take a look at yourself, but the thing is, I never doubted the movie, or my own intuition. So few original things get made on this scale. This isn’t a sequel, it isn’t based on a superhero in a comic book. We saw it as an opportunity to take a genre and create something new and unique within it. That challenge excites me, but uniqueness always comes with criticism. As a filmmaker, all you can do is hope you get to the point where people feel as excited and as passionate about the film as you felt making it. Sure, we felt like the media wanted the project to fail, but we knew what we had, and we felt it would work. Then came the first preview, and the movie played like gangbusters.”
Forster also spoke about the films final third act, which was supposed to be a big, epic battle in Russia:
“The original third act, with its big battle, was like every Hollywood movie,” he said. “It’s that big set piece, and it’s all about bigger and louder than everything else that came before it. I always felt that the set piece in Israel that happens earlier was the key action sequence in the film. It takes place in Southern Jerusalem, the birthplace of humanity, and then everything implodes and leaves you feeling, we can’t beat them, this is the end of humanity. That had to be the biggest set piece in the movie. Damon, when he saw the Israel sequence, had the same response, that you had to wind it down from there. Damon and Drew wrote what became exactly the movie I had in my head. It became a more personal journey, where you could connect with Brad in what felt like a haunted house setting. This way, the tension always shifts in the movie, but it never peaks, like a nice piece of music. I haven’t seen that quietly intense an ending in a blockbuster-size film before.”
Forster said the decision to scrap the big battle happened quickly and wasn’t some big drawn out spat. “We went to the editing room, looked at the footage, and we never tested that battle sequence,” Forster said. “Paramount was good with that. We all said, let’s not spend money on all that CG needed to finish that sequence, let’s spend the money instead on shooting a very simple, personal ending.” Forster said the result was in keeping with the original vision of the film that he and Pitt talked about when the actor/producer first came to him with the Max Brooks book. “When Brad sent me the book, I felt it was different, and that it was an opportunity to not just make another zombie movie, but to do something new. I wanted to create images we’d not seen before, from the way the zombies moved, to the way they swarm in Jerusalem, just different than anything done before in the genre. And the moment I’d heard the studio was willing to move forward with a more quiet haunted house ending which we pitched them, I was so relieved and happy. This movie plays well, but it’s different from every blockbuster out there. It’s the intense fun ride that we intended it to be, but it has unexpected moments. And after Jerusalem, you are so exhausted that to have added another big battle would have been repetitive, and it would have left you feeling exhausted.”