After several years in development, and fans anxiously waiting, Paramount Pictures has officially announced that there will be no World War Z sequel. Even though the original, which saw a summer of 2013 release, pulled in an estimated $540 million nationwide, the studio has decided to pull the plug on the project. Speculation is that, although the original was a box office smash, the fact it was such an arduous and tedious task to get it to theaters may play a part in the cancellation of the sequel.
The problems with World War Z were very widely known, as the film was reportedly riddled with production issues behind the scenes. There was also the fact that the third act of the film had to be both rewritten and reshot in late 2012. Because of these rewrites, and the resulting reshoots, the budget costs ballooned exponentially, which in turn severely cut into the bottom line profits for Paramount. Even with the additional cost to finish, there is no denying the movie was a significant box office success—and as such demanded a sequel.
Since the release of the first film and its massive success, a sequel had been in development with J.A. Bayona reportedly signed on to direct. However, that quickly changed when the film became lagged down in pre-production and Bayona dropped the project and instead ended up heading another massive box office smash Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2016.
Paramount then announced in early 2017 that they had tapped David Fincher to replace Bayona as director, and recruited Dennis Kelly to rewrite a script originally penned by Steven Knight. It was then that pre-production work lagged on for two years, with little movement toward actually getting production started.
The movie was rumored to have actually been getting ready to start production this summer when Paramount had made their statement and officially dropped the film. Speculation is that the production budget of the sequel is what ended up dooming the film. Factoring in the original movies production problems and resulting inflated budget, and one can understand Paramount's initial hesitation as well as recent cutting off ties with the sequel.
Finally, others speculation that since the announcement came shortly after Paramount reportedly greenlighting two more sequels for its widely popular Mission Impossible franchise, it would seem that the studio is hedging the safest bet and going with a franchise with a proven track record.
So, what’s the verdict—you decide.
Were the budget and production problems with World War Z really the deciding factor in Paramount’s decision to cut ties with the sequel?