Brad Pitt's zombie thriller 'World War Z' looks to have paid off for the star – hauling in an impressive $111.8 million (£72.7 million) over the weekend.
The film, adapted from the novel of the same name by Max Brooks (son of the legendary Mel Brooks), made an extremely healthy $66 million (£43 million) in the US, and so far $45.8 million (£30 million) overseas.
But for the months leading up to its release, many thought its success hung in the balance, due to lengthy re-shoots, re-editing, huge plot changes and a story that was tricky to adapt from its source material.
Some commentators branded it a flop weeks, even months ago, but it appears that the final product has confounded such expectations.
Now there's even talk of sequels in the offing, following the impressive footfall at the multiplexes.
Pitt himself admitted that the first edit of the film he saw was 'atrocious', telling USA Today: “You see some first cuts and you go, 'Oh, it's everything you want it to be and more.' It's working on certain levels that you didn't even understand when you were shooting it. Like, I had this feeling seeing 'Moneyball'. And here was the exact opposite.”
Pitt said that it was the final third of the first cut, which built to a climactic zombie battle in Russia, that did not work.
“Our summation of the thing was just a complete failure,” he continued. “You develop this sense I guess as you get on in your years, and we all knew. We just didn't know how much it would smell. And it was pretty rank.
“So this is what happens: you go, 'ugh'. And you're debilitated for the rest of the day, (and) the next day. And then after that you go: 'OK, we've got to get back in there. We've got to tear this thing apart and we've got to make this thing work'.”
So came the re-shoots, a delay of six months and 'Lost' and 'Star Trek Into Darkness' writer Damon Lindelof drafted in to re-write the film's final act.
“Listen, I'm pretty proud of this film. I've really enjoyed especially this last six months, getting back in there and fixing it,” he added.
And it appears that Pitt, who produced the film with his company Plan B having scooped it, reportedly, from under the nose of Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, has pulled something out of the bag.
Speaking to Yahoo! UK Movies at the film's premiere in London earlier this month, he said: “We got plenty of material to go on and do a second and a third too, if this thing works.”
And with major studio Paramount reportedly saying a sequel is now moving ahead, it looks like it does...
'World War Z' is out now, starring Pitt, Mareille Enos, James Badge Dale and Matthew Fox.
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