Brad Pitt zombie apocalypse movie World War Z, which has been mired in bad press and was predicted to be one of the year's biggest turkeys, is to get a shock sequel after storming the global box office at the weekend, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Director Marc Forster's loose adaptation of the Max Brooks novel about the aftermath of a worldwide zombie pandemic took a highly impressive $118.8m (£77.3m). While it opened at No 2 in the US behind Pixar animated prequel Monsters University, the film's $66m (£43m) haul in the world's most profitable territory was the best for an original live-action movie there since Avatar. Studio Paramount said the film was now certain to get a followup.
Pitt, 49, has been ever-present with partner Angelina Jolie at premieres and screenings for the movie across the world, and the film's success highlights his continuing star power. World War Z has also benefited from decent reviews, though the Guardian's Peter Bradshaw labelled it a "bloated and boring zombie action thriller that's been in production for so long I think I remember first hearing about it in the playground at primary school".
Such comments allude to the extensive rewrite – reportedly of the entire 40-minute third act – undertaken by Lost creator Damon Lindelof after World War Z had wrapped for the first time last year. A Vanity Fair feature published in May suggested that Pitt and director Marc Forster were refusing to talk to each other on set by the end of production, and hinted at an amateurish approach that saw the film's budget balloon to a reported $400m. It is now widely accepted that the true figure is closer to $200m, though World War Z will still need to continue its impressive box-office run at some pace to have a hope of recovering its costs.
Pitt, who plays a UN worker torn between protecting his family and finding a cure for the zombie infection, hinted at a sequel during the film's Moscow premiere last week. "There is enough [material] to mine from the book," he said. "We could barely get a fraction of the book in [this movie]. So we'll see. We'll see."
• This article was amended on 24 June 2013, as it included the wrong figure for UKP converted from USD in World War Z's box office returns. It has now been corrected.
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