Paramount’s ‘Dune’ Is Dead; ‘World War Z’ Still Alive

Published 4 years ago by

Paramount loses Dune rights working on World War Z movie Paramounts Dune Is Dead; World War Z Still Alive

Paramount invested over four years’ time in their attempt to launch a new cinematic adaptation of Frank Herbert’s seminal sci-fi novel, Dune, but the studio has officially lost the rights to the project.

Paramount is still striving to bring Max Book’s best-seller World War Z to the big screen, though, and is searching for assistance in financing the expensive zombpocalypse tale.

Taken director Pierre Morel was brought onboard last year to helm Dune after Peter Berg left the project to make Battleship instead (for an idea of what Berg had in mind, check out this Dune conceptual artwork).

According to Deadline, Dune rights holder Richard P. Rubinstein has admitted to being impressed with how Morel and screenwriter Chase Palmer reshaped Herbert’s sprawling source material into a feature-length script. What ultimately killed the project was Paramount’s weariness about committing to the $100+ million budget that the project required, says Rubinstein.

Dune was adapted for the big screen back in 1984 by David Lynch, who delivered a rather surreal and arduous sci-fi film that was a massive flop at the box office, but has since attained a cult status of sorts. A primetime Emmy Award-winning TV adaptation of Dune aired on Syfy (then, The Sci-Fi Channel) back in 2000 and was overall a very loyal adaptation of Herbet’s novel… that had a running time of just under five hours.

Given the popularity of the Dune series, it’s likely that another studio will soon be pursuing the screen rights for a movie adaptation. That project will almost undoubtedly have to deviate significantly from Herbert’s original novel in order to keep costs down and not be a chore to watch – but sometimes not catering to fans is the best way to go.


World War Z

World War Z movie with Brad Pitt Paramounts Dune Is Dead; World War Z Still Alive

An adaptation of World War Z is still in the books for Paramount, but Vulture says that the studio may soon pull the plug on the $125 million project if additional financial support is not attained in the near future. Brad Pitt remains attached to star in the film, which would be directed by Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace).

Forster is reportedly planning on delivering a World War Z movie that is Rated PG-13, which could prove to be kind of a double-edged sword for the film. On the one hand, that assurance may ease studio heads’ concerns about the intimidating budget and discourage Paramount from following in the steps of Universal – whose recent decision to terminate Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness is thought to have been influenced by the expensive project being set for an R-Rating.

On the other hand, there are a handful of other in-development zombie related movies (including Zombies Vs. Robots and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) that promise to deliver lots of gory, zombie-killing bang for moviegoers’ buck – and are less expensive than World War Z. The question for now is whether Paramount will try to whittle down the budget on their adaptation, or just stick the project on the backburner if they cannot convince another studio to help with funding.


We’ll keep you posted on the status of both a new Dune and World War Z adaptation in the future.

Source: Deadline, Vulture

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  1. Seems like R rated movies are becoming more scarce being replaced with PG13 and it totally sux!!!

    • Why’s that? IMO, adding gore, violence, f-bombs, and/or nudity isn’t gonna add anything to the film’s acting, story, or overall quality. People think PG-13 films can’t be violent, but many seem to forget TDK was violent, and got a PG-13 rating. Just look at some R-rated films such as Freddy vs. Jason, Alien: Ressurection, and Terminator 3. All rated R, all crap.

  2. Why do they need Brad (over priced) Pitt for WWZ?? There are so many other talented actors out there for a fraction of the cost, then take that extra money and put it into the production, problem solved.

  3. As a rule, PG-13 kills Zombie flicks, or any other horror-like films for that matter. If WWZ is PG-13 the studio will not be getting my box office cash. I’ll wait for the Netflix release.

  4. My question is not so much why Brad Pitt as why does the film have a “star”?
    It has no main character, it’s a series of interviews. You don’t even need much money.
    Just shoot the whole thing as a faux-documentary, with staged interviews interspliced with “flashbacks”, of the actual war.
    There’s a movie called Waltz With Bashir that does it, just use that as a template and we’re all set.

    • Waltz With Bashir is not a “faux-documentary,” it’s an *actual* documentary — just with the images animated (over the audio from real interviews).

      That said, I agree with you that a similar style might work for this movie.

      • I didn’t mean that it was a faux documentary, I meant how the scenes are spliced into the interviews, and how they’re recreated

        • The funny thing is that I actually did think it was a faux documentary until about halfway through! :)

    • You took the words rite out of my mouth. Sometimes i wonder if these Hollywood people even ever read the source material or if someone just sums it up for them.

  5. I understand the point of adaptation, but not appealing to fans as suggested in the article? To me what is the point then? Just write a new and different movie altogether.

    Dune isn’t like Superman as a concept or a general character. The thing about unfaithful comic movies is that there is usually enough in the historical material to justify taking it into almost any reasonable direction possible.

    With an epic like Dune you just can’t do that. How do you take a book, which beauty was in the complexity of political intriguing, the uniqueness of the world and the land, and the depth of characters and not at least try to stay true to some of the core of that.

    While the original Dune movie is one of my favorites and actually turned me onto the books, even that one was rushed. I say if you are going to do it, do it like they are doing with Steven King’s the Gunslinger, spread it out and do it right.

  6. Let’s hope they get things sorted out on this project and they figure out a way to fund it while maintaining an R rating. It was such a good book. It had everything you’d want in a horror story: tension, gore, desperation, action, etc., all while giving a global perspective on an issue that reflects back on society today (the fear of a spreading pandemic/global disease).

    It’s just a great dramatic telling of humanty’s struggle to survive in the face of insurmountable odds. I agree with the above poster that a WWZ movie wouldn’t need that huge of a budget. Take a que from District 9 and run with that documentary format while cutting in flashbacks of what actually happened.

    I’d like to see them spread the story out over a couple of movies as there’s enough material in the book to do so, but for now I’m hoping they get one right first. Keep it a hard R, keep the budget below 100 million, cast some great character actors/ up and comers and always always always consult/ involve the author in all aspects of the film.

    • ^^^I was talking about World War Z by the way. I didn’t make it clear in my post.

      I’m going to check out Dune. I’ve really enjoyed pretty much all of David Lynch’s work and I never knew he did the Dune movie. Is it a cult classic in that it’s so bad that it’s good, or is it an underrated film that just never got the respect it deserved when it was released?

    • I have actually seen the Dune mini-series, but I should clarify: I would say the Harry Potter movies are very loyal adaptations as well, even though they too sometimes differ significantly from the original books.

  7. A PG-13 zombie flick is a total failure.

  8. Bummer about Dune but here’s hoping someone else will pick it up as the article suggests. Loved both the ’84 movie and the SyFy mini-series. The books are awesome.

  9. there are hundreds and thousands of great sci-fi books out there that would readily adapt to the silver screen. WHY oh why!! does Hollywood kill itself to remake and remake the same material?

    Why not tackle “Ringworld”?

    Why not tackle “The Pliocene Saga”?

    How about “Eon”?

    GAWD! there are so many great books that have great action tableaux in them that would translate perfectly to the big screen and actually have GREAT stories behind them.

    It’s great that they want to do “World War Z”… but please, don’t stop there!

    • With you on Eon, Mike: jaw-dropping concepts, gripping plot, well-written characters. Would make an infinitely better movie than the ostensibly similar Rendezvous With Rama, and the sequel Eternity was equally good if not even better, I thought.

    • Add to your list the likes of:

      Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone (and the saga of the Eternal Champion)

      Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber

      Stephen R Donladson’s The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever.

      Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser

      Some great material out there that is being bypassed for the likes of crap like Eragon. :P

      • I would be onbaord for the Elric Saga but the Covenant series tendd to get reptative at tiems.

        Elric would be easy as well, the elven look is easy to accomplish but the sword and settings would be the big obsticles.

  10. Brad pitt’s production company bought the rights to the film version of WWZ, that’s why he’s in it. He wants to make the movie, and that’s probably the reason that the studio hasn’t killed it yet. Because frankly, even a crappy movie with Brad Pitt will draw a lot of people.

    its such a great story and concept, that it kind of needs the studio to make the movie and live with a great movie and an “R” rating.

  11. I’m very happy that Paramount saw the wisdom in canceling a single “Dune” movie.

  12. Damn.. I really wanted a Dune re-boot.

  13. World War Z PG-13?Do the book justice and please don’t make it then. I read the book I couldn’t imagine any other rating than a n R rating.

  14. If WWZ is filmed PG-13 I won’t watch it till it is on Net Flix as previously stated by a fellow reader. Any Horror film that is not rated R is sad. Leave the kids Twilight and give us R rated Zombies. The book has some very gory scenes and strong language so PG-13 doesn’t cut it.

  15. I hope the movie isn’t just a huge shooting flick with the narration of the people being interviewed. If it was made with fake news clips and such, it would improve the realism and effect of the movie. Just having people being interviewed with flashbacks wouldn’t work as the whole point of World War Z was that it was real, and wasn’t into the minds of the interviewed. Now, to contradict the newscast thing, there are parts of the book where flashbacks would be a great piece, like the woman who hallucinated that a skywatcher named Mets Fan helped her survive.