Is World War Z in worse trouble than we thought?

There has been troubled buzz on World War Z for quite some time now, and it’s left us scratching our collective heads wondering what went wrong.

The book’s still on the best-seller list, and the zombie trend is still hot. How could a zombie movie be this much trouble?

Still, there have been a number of reports that the film’s budget and schedule have gotten way out of hand, and that a major portion of the movie had to be rewritten at the eleventh hour, which is never a good sign. So can World War Z overcome the bad word of mouth, or will it become the Heaven’s Gate of zombie movies?

The story’s the cover subject of this month’s Vanity Fair, and on VF’s website it’s being called “Brad’s Big Bet,” as well as “Brad’s War.” Damon Lindelof, the screenwriter of Prometheus, was one of the script surgeons called in to help the film, and as he told Vanity Fair, Pitt really liked the “geopolitical aspect” of the story. “But when we started working on the script, a lot of that stuff had to fall away for the story to come together.”

As Lindelof continued, “We started shooting the thing before we locked down how it was going to end up, and it didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.” In fact, this article claims 40 minutes of the movie had to be reshot, and the film’s budget went through the roof, hitting nearly $200 million. 

Now if you think us calling WWZ the Heaven’s Gate of zombie flicks is harsh, there’s already another headline on The Atlantic Wire that says it’s “beginning to look a lot like Ishtar,” another legendary Hollywood debacle. There’s also the question of where World War Z will stand among the other blockbusters this summer. Can it hold its own against Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness, or will it get steamrollered by them?

It’s going to be tough for World War Z to overcome the troubled production stories, but don’t forget everyone thought Titanic was going to be a disaster on the level of Heaven’s Gate that would put Fox out of business, and I also remember everyone predicting doom with the first X-Men movie before anyone even saw it. 

If World War Z flops, it certainly won’t single-handedly end the zombie phenomenon – The Walking Dead is still going incredibly strong -but it could put a nice sized dent in the popularity of the undead. As a source who spoke to Vanity Fair put it, Pitt “just wanted [the movie] to be cool.” We’ll find out on June 21 if he reached his goal when World War Z hits theaters everywhere.