New ‘World War Z’ Trailer Aims For Mass Audience; Avoids the ‘Z’ Word

Published 2 years ago by

The first World War Z trailer shaped the film like a standard zombie thriller. It started with Pitt, onscreen wife Mireille Enos (The Killing) and their two daughters stuck in Philadelphia traffic, not knowing these will be the last calm moments of their lives until the surrounding road rage escalates into a full-on zombie rampage. Only in the last 30 seconds did it hint that Pitt has some sort of skill set that makes him vital in humanity’s war for survival.

Paramount Pictures has just released the second trailer for World War Z, and audiences who don’t know the Z stands for “zombies” might watch this whole second ad and still have no idea Brad Pitt’s bureaucrat is battling the undead.

Instead, this second trailer deliberately positions World War Z as a globe-trotting adventure-thriller, not the umpteenth genre zombie flick. Like the first, it opens with a domestic scene playing up Pitt’s family ties. There’s a quick shot of the horde scene from the first trailer, and the same race to get Pitt’s clan on a chopper—though, interestingly, it’s deleted the quick close-up of their zombie pursuer.

The focus is more on mankind’s fatal crisis, which goes unspecified. The word “zombie” isn’t mentioned. Instead, the film’s antagonist is called “the scene,” “the thing,” or “the end of humanity,” with the focus on how fast the whatever-it-is is spreading, as though World War Z wants to be seen as a straight pandemic movie—which, to be fair, is how Max Brooks’ deadpan original book also saw itself.

It’s also clearer that Pitt is playing an adviser sent to different countries – Israel and Russia for sure – to find the source of the outbreak, and hopefully the cure. Tellingly, instead of having Brad Pitt talk about monsters, in this trailer he talks about memos.

 New World War Z Trailer Aims For Mass Audience; Avoids the Z Word

This new commercial is trying to appeal to the global crowd that bought $135.4 million in tickets to see Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion. That doesn’t sound like a huge box office take, but consider this: the highest domestic hauls for live-action zombie flicks are a three-way tie between Zombieland, Warm Bodies, and Dawn of the Dead, each hovering around $100 million. To date, zombie flicks definitely have a box office cap. And with World War Z‘s budget stretching past $170 million, the pressure is on for the producers to break free of any perceived genre niche.

Other moments of note:

  • David Morse is spotted as a Hannibal Lecter-esque inmate in an orange jumpsuit and jail cell. His character is still a mystery, so all we know at this point is that he has ties to the government. All Morse has cryptically revealed in an interview with WENN is, “I’m somebody who survives and has secrets that sends Brad Pitt on his way.” This could be the part that Bryan Cranston nearly took, which he described as “pivotal.”
  • The trailer ends with longer look at the killer airplane action sequence than the one-second glance we saw in the Super Bowl spot. It looks great, but it also looks nearly identical to the one in Iron Man 3. Must be in the zeitgeist.
  • Mireille Enos seems like she might be sidelined on a quarantined military ship with their daughters for most of the film. That could be a waste of The Killing star’s talents—or, perhaps a set-up for a third-act twist where her ship will somehow be overtaken by zombies. Max Brooks’ companion book, The Zombie Survival Guide, did say these undead could live underwater…

World War Z releases in theaters June 23, 2013.

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  1. The CGI on the aircraft seems to have improved since the last trailer, but the human/zombie CGI is terrible. I know they had to animate THAT many models, but it just looks so fake. However, if the story can hold this movie together, I won’t be so critical.

    • I hope so. I so want to think this movie will be fun…..

  2. Loved the book, but this looks like CRAP! Adaptation in name only it seems.

    • They only share the Name.

  3. I think it looks pretty good, much better than the last trailer, CGI zombies tho, this will make or break the movie, I know I Am Legend had infected people or whatever but they looked awful even more so in up close scenes

  4. The book was great. I’ll go see this and hope it is good. If nothing else if it does well it might encourage Holly Wood to make more high budget zombie films.

    • Unfortunately it looks like they departed from the book.

  5. Looks good

  6. End of the World Zombie Flick…It looks good. World War Z it is not.

    • +1

    • I know! I never thought they could make the book into an accurate movie with the way the book was formatted but I thought they could come closer than this! There is no “weakness” in the book. There is no “cure.” The only thing they could do was shoot them in the head!

  7. The realism of the zombies people want is not possible due to the very nature of these zombies.

  8. It was mentioned in World War Z itself that the zombies could live under water. They would float around on the surface and walk around on the bottom of the ocean and eventually reach secluded islands that way.

  9. This movie… looks terrible. I’m not even sure that if I HADN’T read the book I would be interested in it. I love zombie movies; hell, I’ve contributed to all three of the aforementioned zombie flicks that made around $100 million… but it’s never a good sign when the studio releases the full trailer and not one mention is made of the actual zombies. It won’t flop, because we have enough people curious about zombie stories right now hot on the heels of The Walking Dead to make money, but it’s a shame they’ve turned this into Generic Action Pandemic: The Movie.

    • “but it’s never a good sign when the studio releases the full trailer and not one mention is made of the actual zombies.”

      What do you mean by that? What past examples has there been that that’d be considered a bad sign? In the trailer Pitt’s character says “I think these things have a weakness”. What was he referring to if not the actual zombies?

  10. I think this looks pretty decent. Yeah the cgi sucks horribly, but maybe an intriguing story can make up for that. Also, I really hope that marielle isn’t wasted. I think she could add some real emotion to the film. She is very talented, and I loved her in “The Killing”

    • This has been my primary complaint from the beginning. The book told the story of the zombie apocalypse from a unique and very interesting perspective that probably could have translated quite well to the screen (see Interview With the Vampire). The whole reason I was excited for this movie was to see that unique vision brought to life in a big budget film.

      If Pitt wants to make an epic, expensive zombie flick, fine. Go ahead and make this exact movie and I’ll be okay with it (maybe even excited to see it) as long as he DOESN’T buy the rights to a great book and bastardize it to the point that it’s no longer recognizable. They shouldn’t even be allowed to use “World War Z” as the title. Okay, rant over.

  11. I haven’t read the book, so I wouldn’t know if it’s a good adaptation but as a zombie or epidemic flick, it seems promising.

  12. This trailer in my opinion makes me want to see this movie even less now. The whole super zombies on crack or something is just plain stupid and it looks pathetic in this trailer even more than the Superbowl trailer. And I enjoy zombie movies that are decent enough, but this isn’t one doesn’t look like it’s even worth a used dvd purchase from Ebay. I’d almost rather watch a Michael Bay giant robot snooze fest than this movie.

  13. i’m sick and tired of all these zombies on my plane.

    • :-D

      That made me smile…..

  14. Dunno about you guys, but that trailer was pretty damn effective. Who cares if they mention the word “zombie” or not.

  15. i think it looks awesome and I’ve read the book. any way they can change up the same old zombie movie is a good thing in my opinion. at least it’s different. who cares what it’s called. Max Brooks must have had some say in this. i’d like to think, anyway.

  16. Having never heard of the book until production of the movie got underway, I’d say judging by the trailer, it looks pretty damn great.

  17. The second trailer makes this movies look much better. I havent read the book, but I am familiar with the story and based on this trailer, that theme is really evident. Im excited to see it. That poster is epic.

  18. Sorry, but Ms Nicholson didn’t do her homework very well, lol! 1) like someone said before me, zombies underwater are a BIG THING in the WWZ BOOK! (thus it means she didn’t even read it…!) 2)we know for more than a year that Morse took Cranston’s role…
    That said, I loved the book, but I’m all for a mindless popcorn movie! The other book lovers disappointed already by this “adaptation” can go listening in May to the UNABRIDGED audiobook (with plenty of stars doing the voices), & everyone will be happy in a “World Z”! :)

  19. My one wish.

    They do not try to do the Battle of Yonkers.

  20. Brad Pitt has made great movies but this oh the humanity!!!!! It’s world war z in name only. I’ve read the book so many times that I have memorized it. This this is just wrong. I may be a fan boy bashing it before it comes out but if you are going to call it world war z at least take something from the book