A tale of Brad Pitt, zombies and acts of increasing desperation

June 21, 2013

Brad Pitt / Zombies

Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane and his family in “World War Z.” (Jaap Buitendijk / AP / June 14, 2013)

Zombies — they’re everywhere, it seems, and that includes trademark disputes.

If you have picked up a magazine, flipped through the channels or turned on a computer any time in the past three months, your chances of not seeing Brad Pitt promoting his upcoming film “World War Z” are pretty slim.

In somewhat related news (which we will get to in a moment,) the makers of videogame “The War Z” announced this week that they had re-branded the game “Infestation: Survivor Stories.”

A spokesman for the company said the change was made “primarily as a result of some confusion and trademark issues with a similarly titled property.”

He didn’t name “World War Z” specifically, but if there is another zombie-related entertainment juggernaut heading our way, I should probably know about it.

Now, while I understand why the movie studio would get fussy if it had planned a videogame tie-in with “World War Z,” but as far as I know, it hasn’t. So why is it not just leaving “The War Z” alone? It isn’t like people could even buy a ticket to that, thinking they would be seeing People Magazine’s Sexist Man Alive 1995 and 2000 save the world.

One theory: Depending on whom you ask, “World War Z” reportedly cost around $400 million and the pre-premier buzz hasn’t been great, so Pitt and Paramount have a real incentive to do what he can to get people to buy tickets.

That would include making sure – making absolutely sure – that not even a tiny razor-thin wafer of potential ticket-buyers would get their fix from some rival entertainment form and thus avoid “World War Z” at the multiplex.

That bodes well for this film’s chances of recouping its budget, doesn’t it?