Zack Snyder has called Warner Bros. his studio home for 15 years, but 2021 will mark a break in the collaboration as the director’s zombie epic “Army of the Dead” arrives on Netflix. Why the move to streaming? Budget issues, of course. “Army of the Dead” sat in development hell at Warner Bros. for over 10 years before Netflix swooped in to purchase the distribution rights and get the film into production.
“They didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a zombie movie,” Snyder recently told Entertainment Weekly, “or just didn’t take it that seriously. I was always like, ‘Look guys, this is more than [just a zombie movie],’ but it fizzled out.”
After making his feature directorial debut with Universal’s 2004 “Dawn of the Dead” remake, Snyder jumped to Warner Bros. in 2006 with “300” and stayed there for follow-up projects “Watchmen,” “Legend of the Guardians,” “Sucker Punch,” “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman,” and “Justice League.” Despite his long history with Warner Bros., Snyder’s involvement alone couldn’t get “Army of the Dead” in development at the studio. Then along came Netflix.
“We were in a meeting at Netflix and I was talking about some of these scripts I was working on,” Snyder told EW. “And I mentioned the idea to [Netflix head of original films Scott Stuber] and he was like, ‘That is the movie! Go write that movie and let’s make it.’ I was like, ‘What, do you mean now?’ And he’s like, ‘Go write it tomorrow and we’ll do shoot it in a week.'”
Netflix loved Snyder’s idea so much that it is expanding “Army of the Dead” into a full blown franchise. The streamer has ordered a four-hour animated prequel series for the film that dives into the origin of the plague that created the zombie epidemic. Snyder cracked the idea for the animated prequel series.
“I’ve done a very deep dive with the why of the zombie plague and where it starts,” Snyder says. “Sufficed to say, that it does come from Area 51 — that’s in the film’s opening scene — and then the whole cast is in the animated series, along with Christian Slater as the bad guy. We really do a super deep dive on where this like zombie plague came from.”
“Army of the Dead” is coming to Netflix later in 2021.