Brad Pitt's 'War Z' Undergoes Reshoots

Late Add June 19-NY Post reviewer Kyle Smith gives the movie a low-but-not-diastrous two-star below
By Robert Marich
   June 16, 2013—Hollywood has a pretty good track record of avoiding box office catastrophes with big-budget movies—meaning production budgets of $120 mil. or more--and Paramount is determined that its World War Z doesn’t get added to that short list.
   A Hollywood Reporter article recounts how Paramount Pictures engaged in a late revamp of its Brad Pitt apocalyptic yarn World War Z after deciding its final one third needed retooling. The PG-13 rated zombie epic will premiere June 21—six months later than originally envisioned (Dec. 21, 2012). The article says World War Z is now on track to gross $40-50 mil. its opening weekend, which is decent for a sci-fi film that cost over $200 mil..
   “Normally a studio would go to great lengths to avoid taking on the cost and bad publicity that can follow when a $200 million-budgeted film's opening is pushed,” says the article by Kim Masters in Hollywood Reporter. “In this case, Paramount did not have much choice. The film lacked a third act, and the studio hired (ABC Television’s) Lost's Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard to create a new ending.”
   Shooting of additional scenes for the film’s ending took place in London in October 2012, which are rumored to have cost $20 mil., according to a Vanity Fair article by Laura Holson. Paramount also insisted on a PG-13 rating, while filmmakers wanted action that risked an R rating (World War Z is officially rated PG-13 now).
   An analyst at investment firm Cowen & Co. predicts that World War Z will be a flop, which is a concern for the stock price of Paramount-parent Viacom that is publicly traded. The prediction is based partly on the industry factor that the peak summer season is clogged with a high number of big-budget extravaganzas.
   While delays and reshoots are always a caution flag, the Hollywood Reporter story notes that late retooling is becoming more frequent. Box office hits The Great Gatsby, The Hobbit and G. I. Joe: Retaliation shined, despite experiencing delayed releases.
   Paramount’s last minute overhaul aimed to prevent World War Z from being added to the short list of recent big budget films that bombed. Flops include Disney’s John Carter ($73 mil. in domestic box office on $250 million production cost), Universal’s Battleship ($65 mil. in domestic BO on $209 mil. cost) and Warner Bros.’ Jack and the Giant Slayer ($65 mil. in domestic BO on $195 in cost). It’s a short list given all the successes with most big budget extravaganzas.
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