This summer, there are two movies that have a lot on the line: The Lone Ranger, and World War Z. A Wall Street analyst even predicted they could end up being the biggest flops of this moviegoing season, if not the year.
The Lone Ranger has had trouble from the get-go, to the point where Disney actually shut the film down while sets were being built, and only when Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean), and producer Jerry Bruckheimer agreed to reduce their fees did the shoot continue. Reports of trouble on World War Z have also been incessant, and it looks like Paramount is going on the offensive, especially after a Vanity Fair cover story that detailed the runaway train production.
Deadline just ran a story claiming they’ve seen the film, and that in their opinion it’s far from the disaster everyone’s been predicting. As Mike Fleming writes, “I can honestly say that it’s better than good; try a rocking, smart, pulse pounding big scale pandemic with raging zombies, tension and the kind of hero star turn Brad Pitt hasn’t done in a long time.” (Don’t forget last summer Deadline also tried to convince us that Battleship would be a big hit.)
Screenwriter Damon Lindelof (Lost, Star Trek Into Darkness) recalled that after working on the screenplay for Prometheus, he got an emergency call about World War Z, because Brad Pitt liked the Prometheus script. Lindelof saw 75 minutes of the movie, which reportedly worked, and he told the Reporter “The idea of a large-scale, epic, $150 million zombie movie starring Brad Pitt sounds pretty good to me. Because I haven’t seen that before.”
As a script doctor, Lindelof can make $200-300,000 a week, and he wrote sixty new script pages for the movie, which cost the production $20 million on top of its $170 million budget. Drew Goddard, who co-wrote and directed Cabin in the Woods, chimed in with help as well. While Lindelof was willing to help out with World War Z, he definitely didn’t want to take on Star Wars for his friend JJ Abrams, which he said would be “a lose-lose for me in every way shape or form.”
Again, until the final legit reviews are in, all bets are off on this one, and it could go several ways. It could either be a truly great movie, simply good, fair to mediocre, or just downright dreadful. Where on earth it could actually land, we have no idea, but we’ll know the answer in less than a month when World War Z finally lands in theaters on June 21.