Paramount Pictures canceled World War Z 2 after spending several years developing it - but why? Based on the novel of the same name by Max Brooks, the World War Z movie released in summer 2013 and earned over $540 million at the worldwide box office, ultimately becoming one of Brad Pitt's highest-grossing movies of all time. But even though World War Z earned millions of dollars globally, getting it onto the big screen was an arduous task.
Forster's film suffered production issues behind the scenes, and the third act had to be rewritten and reshot in late 2012. World War Z's production budget ballooned because of the reshoots, and that ultimately cut the movie's bottom line for Paramount. But it was still a box office success, so a sequel has been in development ever since. J.A. Bayona originally signed on to direct World War Z 2, but he ended up dropping the project in favor of helming Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2016.
Shortly after Bayona's exit, David Fincher signed on to direct in early 2017, which came over a year after the studio had already recruited Dennis Kelly to rewrite Steven Knight's script for the sequel. From there, work on World War Z 2 continued for almost another two years. Unfortunately, the studio abruptly canceled World War Z 2 just as the movie was gearing up to begin filming this summer - and people are wondering why.
Paramount Canceled The World War Z Sequel Over Its Budget
World War Z 2 entered pre-production recently and had already staffed for principal photography in multiple countries, according to reports, but then it was suddenly canceled because of budgetary issues. Even though Paramount knew the production budget for several months, they hadn't committed to putting World War Z 2 on their schedule. Given the first movie's production problems and inflated budget, it's understandable that Paramount, which has been under the new leadership of studio chief Jim Gianopulos since 2017, would be hesitant about the sequel.
What's more interesting, this halt on pre-production comes less than one week after the studio greenlit back-to-back Mission: Impossible sequels. Since Mission: Impossible - Fallout was an astounding success, it makes sense Paramount would rather spend their money on that franchise over World War Z 2.
Can World War Z 2 Still Happen?
Yes, World War Z 2 could eventually happen, but it's unlikely. It was originally scheduled to release in June 2017, and after almost six years in development, the sequel has gone back to the drawing board. Of course, this isn't the first time something like this has happened in Hollywood. For instance, the IT remake was in development for several years, with Cary Fukunaga shepherding it from 2012 to 2015. Fukunaga ultimately exited IT remake, though, after having budgetary issues with the studio. It was only two months later that Andy Muschietti signed on as Fukunaga's replacement and everything was back on track. IT released in 2017 and became the highest-grossing horror movie of all-time.
So, Paramount could theoretically find someone else to reduce the budget and still move forward with the current script, but it just doesn't seem likely. Fincher isn't someone known for directing high-budget films, so it'll be interesting to see exactly what the budget was, in the first place, if that information ever comes to light. As it stands, Paramount has plenty of other projects on the horizon, and they may not want to spend any more time and money on World War Z 2. It's unfortunate, but that's the reality of the situation - and it may not end at World War Z 2 either, as Paramount recently canceled Star Trek 4 as well.