$170 Million Can Buy Half a Good Summer Movie

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Reshoots and personel changes have plagued the production of World War Z, but its $170 million plus budget (so far) has apparently produced a great first half. Now they have to pay for a better ending. 

We asked what was wrong with World War Z when the studio announced the movie was being pushed back from December to summer of 2013 last week. Now, The Hollywood Reporter reports the movie's been plagued by a fish-out-of-water director, a revolving door technical staff and a distracted Brad Pitt, who is both producing and starring in the flick. Now, the movie's doing five weeks of reshoots in September and Damon Lindelof is rewriting the whole end of the movie. 

The movie "looks fantastic," according to Paramount film group president Adam Goodman, "but we all agreed it can have a better ending." Maybe Brad Pitt's hopes of making a deep zombie movie weighed it down, because Goodman also called it a "giant summer movie" which means the ending will probably have way more explosions and decapitation than whatever sissy, intelligent ending Pitt had dreamed up. Not that December movies are particularly fantastic, but the push for studio's award-season flicks usually adds an air of prestige to the popcorn movies that come out at the same time. The summer is where intelligence on screen goes to die in a fiery mess of tangled luxury cars while a busty girl hangs from a bridge and the hero is trapped under a minivan helpless to save her. 

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One source told THR, "It’s a great first 45 minutes, maybe even an hour," which is concerning for a movie that's already cost north of $170 million. After five weeks of reshoots and post-production on the entire last half of the movie, the price tag is going to be astronomical. 

Which is all to say expectations for this one should be dimmed considerably. For every $200 million success story like The Avengers, there are movies like Battleship and John Carter to remind everyone that a great movie money does not make. Admittedly, we'll probably end up watching it for the same reason we watched John Carter: it's hard to look away from a train wreck, especially ones that cost so much to make.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.