In what looks like a bad case of déjà vu for the zombie action franchise, it appears that the upcoming 2017 sequel for World War Z has already run into its first hurdle.
Back in 2013, the Brad Pitt-led movie adaptation of Max Brooks's novel became one of the surprise hits of the year, despite having lingering problems with finance and production.
The film was initially set to be released in September 2012, but following extensive re-shoots, last minute script re-writes, and a revision of the entire third act, the film released in June the following year.
The budget ballooned to a worrying $190 million in total, but fate would have it that fans lapped up the zombie action film, leading to a $500 million global gross at the box office. Luckily for Brad Pitt (who helped produce/finance the film), it became his second highest grossing movie after 2004's Troy, which made $497.3 million gross.
Which ultimately meant one thing... sequel, anyone?
However, now it appears that the sequel is already in trouble.
Unfortunately for Brad Pitt, it appears that the franchise just won't run smoothly. Just last month, Paramount announced that it had found its director for the World War Z sequel in Juan Antonio Bayona, the man behind 2012's tsunami drama The Impossible. Fast forward to the first month of 2016, and Bayona has already announced that he'll be relinquishing creative control.
Paramount studio confirmed the news in a statement, citing pre-existing film commitments as the reason for Bayona's departure.
Because of pre-existing film commitments, Bayona is not able to make World War Z this year, and it is our ambition to do so. He is a wonderful director and we hope to work with him soon.
Instead, Bayona will be dedicating his time to A Monster Calls, a film he just shot starring an all-star cast of Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell and Liam Neeson.
The franchise is still in good hands. With a script penned by Steven Knight (Locke, Peaky Blinders, Burnt) and Dennis Kelly (Utopia, Black Sea), many are quietly confident that the sequel will be a refreshing twist on the zombie narrative. Finances too will hopefully be in better hands, with lessons learned from World War Z, Brad Pitt's Plan B company, and Skydance co-financing with Paramount.
The sequel to 'World War Z' is expected to hit cinemas June 9, 2017. With a director still yet to be found, production will start later this year with Brad Pitt reprising his role as Gerry Lane.