The sequel to smash hit zombie action movie World War Z now has a director assigned to it: Juan Antonio Bayona, whose drama The Impossible told the story of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
World War Z was beset with problems during its production, involving rewrites and the whole 40-minute third act being reshot, but the struggle proved worth it as the film made $540m worldwide earlier this year. Its success has cleared the pathway for a sequel, as Hollywood looks ever more towards franchises as stable revenue generators.
Bayona too has found success, with the critically acclaimed The Impossible grossing $180m and earning Naomi Watts an Academy Award nomination. His previous film, well-received horror curio The Orphanage, showed he can handle World War Z-style shocks.
But the sequel may not be made with the studio that housed the original, after Paramount's relationship with Brad Pitt's production company Plan B is coming to an end after eight years. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Pitt is instead teaming up with New Regency, the company from Israeli producer Arnon Milchan. RatPac, the cutely-named company formed by Brett Ratner and James Packer, will help with financing.
"There are very few partners in this business who are able to balance artistic integrity with commercial viability. Working hand in hand with New Regency and RatPac, we feel we have found the perfect fit," Plan B said in a statement.
As well as World War Z, Plan B has also produced 12 Years A Slave, the much-lauded slave drama released in the UK on January 10. The film marked the start of the new relationship with New Regency, who co-financed and distributed it, to the chagrin of Paramount who believed they had the rights to do so. But the Hollywood Reporter states that Paramount and Plan B will still partner on projects that are already in development.