Remember how dismissive everyone was being of "World War Z," which many thought would be a $200 million boondoggle for producer and star Brad Pitt? Well, it looks like Pitt (and the movie's studio, Paramount) will have the last laugh: "World War Z" just crossed the $500 million mark globally, which means that A) it actually turned a profit, and B) it is Pitt's highest grossing film to date (beating out "Troy"). Somewhere in Hollywood, Pitt can be heard chanting "nanny nanny boo boo."
As recounted in Vanity Fair's giant, incredibly flowery June 2013 cover story, "World War Z" was seen (by many) as a project beyond hope: It was crippled by a third act that simply didn't work, extensive reshoots that added tens of millions of dollars to the final budget, and a director who had more or less quit the movie out of frustration.
Based on the novel by Max Brooks, the movie tells the story of a UN worker (Pitt) who is in a race against time to find the cause or cure or something for an international zombie epidemic. It capitalizes on the fears and growing unease of our globalized world, but with the added thrill of zombies -- monsters that are having their moment with television series like "The Walking Dead" and movies like zom rom-com "Warm Bodies."
Armed with a new ending constructed by genre godheads Damon Lindelof and Drew Goddard, a reenergized Pitt, a mass-audience-friendly PG-13 rating, and a "safer" music score by Marco Beltrami, the blockbuster went out into the world. And it's kicking ass.
"World War Z" has been a surprise hit (both critically and commercially) in America, and that momentum has carried out into the world, where it's garnered more positive reviews and tons of box office cash.
In other words, we should never underestimate Brad Pitt. You can now resume the "Lone Ranger" jokes.