World War Z 2: Will Brad Pitt's Zombie Sequel Ever Release?

By Richard Nebens Posted:
World War Z Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt brought a wild zombie action thriller to the big screen with 2013's World War Z, but will its success be enough to make World War Z 2 happen?

Falling just outside the top 10 highest-grossing movies at the 2013 box office, World War Z brought the book of the same title to life on the big screen behind director Marc Foster and screenplay writers Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof.

Working under an incredible $190 million budget (possibly as high as $269 million), this horror/thriller garnered mostly positive reviews for Pitt's performance and the zombie elements, falling short with its outdated CGI and major stray in direction from the source material.

Will World War Z 2 Ever Release?

World War Z movie family

Looking at the possibility of World War Z 2 actually happening, there are a few notable facts to consider.

In January 2012, the Los Angeles Times reported that Paramount Pictures viewed World War Z as a trilogy that would have a healthy mix of the realism from Matt Damon's Jason Bourne movies and the "unsettling end-times vibe" of The Walking Dead:

"For Pitt, the big sci-fi thriller also represents his strongest bid to have a big film franchise of his own, which might be viewed as the missing piece of his career jigsaw puzzle. Forster and Paramount Pictures each view 'World War Z' as a trilogy that would have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Damon’s 'Jason Bourne' series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s 'The Walking Dead.'"

Working on the previously-mentioned $190 million budget, World War Z had an impressive run at the box office, totaling over $540 million at the global box office and making the idea of World War Z 2 feasible.

That sequel was officially greenlit in 2016, although, per Deadline, Juan Antonio Bayona departed as the director not long into development with the job being a highly sought-after one.

The report also noted that Paramount had a script by Steven Knight and Dennis Kelly, although Bayona reportedly left due to the studio wanting to push the film out in a shorter timeframe than he was comfortable with.

In April 2017, Variety revealed that David Fincher was brought on to replace Bayona and direct the sequel.

Fincher noted in November of the same year that "a lot of stones have been laid" for production and that the team was "deconstructing it right now against the mythology that exists" to figure out the direction for the sequel.

Unfortunately, The Playlist noted that Paramount Pictures canceled World War Z 2 with Fincher still attached.

In May 2019, The Hollywood Reporter explained that China's ban on zombie movies was the biggest reason that Paramount wouldn't greenlight the movie, even with other zombie movies moving forward without China's box office returns.

Would Brad Pitt Be in a World War Z Sequel?

Brad Pitt, World War Z

Numerous actors from the original World War Z movie have offered comments over the last few years regarding the chances that World War Z 2 goes into development. 

Brad Pitt spoke with Collider in September 2019 about the script, remarking that it was "really good" and had "a really strong story" with never-before-seen material in it:

"Ooh…it was good. It was really good. We had a really strong story, which [Fincher] shepherded. The things he had planned for it just haven’t been seen before."

Mireille Enos, who plays Pitt's wife in the first movie, recalled being "all lined up to go" with everybody coming back before everything fell apart at the last minute in a chat with Variety:

"We were all lined up to go. We had Fincher, we had a beautiful script, and then it just didn’t happen."

Based on this information, World War Z 2 appears to have been at least put on the back burner if not completely shelved, although anything could change at a moment's notice.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.