After starting the month with a Vanity Fair cover story that painted a worrisome picture of "World War Z's" chances at the summer box office, Paramount is receiving some good news via word of mouth from early screenings. And guess what? So far, the film appears to be less the "Ishtar" Hollywood production disaster everyone feared - and more the undead rocking blockbuster we all expected.
"I don’t know if I would have penned this post had I hated the movie, but I consider myself a connoisseur of zombie fare, and this stacks up very favorably," writes Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. in an article on Paramount's efforts to reshape the public's perception of the film. "I’m no reviewer, but I can honestly say that WWZ is better than good; try a rocking, smart, pulse-pounding big-scale pandemic with raging zombies, palpable tension, and the kind of hero star turn Pitt hasn’t performed in a long time."
Those are encouraging words for anyone that's been following "World War Z's" production from the beginning. As early as last June, reports emerged of trouble - in particular with the film's third act and ending; which was apparently geared to launch a trilogy. According to Fleming, studio execs found the original to be implausible and unsatisfying.
“We made an investment decision based on this great idea that would definitely improve the movie to the point that spending $15 million to $20 million would be worth it,” Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore told Deadline. “The movie would play substantially better, enough to be a hit globally and to potentially give rise to sequels. We now have that movie; we’ve screened it and watched the previews test right in line with the last Mission: Impossible.”
As "Mission Impossible 4" went on to gross nearly $700M globally, I'm sure Paramount would be thrilled with a similar result for "Z." Commenters on Fleming's article who also saw a screening seem to agree that we're in for a fun zombie flick come June 21st - albeit, perhaps one lacking the standard gore and scares.
"I dont know if it will bomb or not, but I have seen a newer cut and thought it was a tight as s**t thrill from top to bottom, and I am not a zombie movie fan in particular. It should do huge business because it is a lot of fun." writes one.
"I have also seen the final cut of this film (non-3D) and I have to say for a movie that his hit so many production woes, it is rather okay," writes another. "If you enjoy $200 million dollar action movies, you’ll love it. If you wanted a zombie movie, well, you’re gonna hate it because the film lacks blood and scares, COMPLETELY."
Guess we'll find out for sure in June. Check out a trailer for "World War Z" below.