World War Z had one rough development period, getting caught up for years in rewrites, almost-expired options, and budget troubles before finally making it in front of cameras last summer. But even though principal photography wrapped months ago, it seems the project’s troubles aren’t over.

A new report indicates that the Marc Forster-directed zombie epic is now headed for seven weeks of reshoots — a troublingly long schedule that hints at major problems with the film. More details after the jump.

According to The Daily Mail (via Blastr), star Brad Pitt is going back to Budapest for more shooting. It is unclear whether the picture’s other stars, which include Matthew Fox, Mireille Enos, and James Badge Dale, will be joining him. The update casts a worrying new light on World War Z‘s recent release date shift. Back in March, Paramount pushed it back from a December 2012 opening to June 21, 2013. It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, especially since the horror-tinged World War Z seemed like a better fit for summer than Christmas anyway, but now it appears that the move was made to allow World War Z some much-needed extra time.

While it’s not at all unusual for filmmakers to go back to capture a bit of additional footage, most reshoots take somewhere between a few days and a few weeks. (For comparison, the troubled John Carter underwent three and a half weeks of reshoots.) The fact that World War Z needs to film for another month and half suggests that this isn’t a matter of some simple tweaks or a couple of new scenes, but an attempt to significantly rework the movie. Because extensive reshoots can significantly drive up the cost of a production, they tend to only get done if the studio and filmmakers are really unhappy with what they already have.

The Playlist, in an interesting discussion, observes that World War Z isn’t the only tentpole feature that’s recently gone in for substantial retooling. Paramount surprised everyone last month by moving G.I. Joe: Retaliation from June to March 2013 at the last minute, reportedly to give rising star Channing Tatum more screen time, and Universal’s 47 Ronin was bumped back from November to February 2013 to make room for costly reshoots.

If the seven extra weeks are enough to turn Forster’s World War Z into the adaptation that Max Brooks‘ wonderful novel deserves, that’s great. More often, however, by the time a movie needs to go back into lengthy, expensive reshoots, it’s because its issues are — well, if not exactly beyond repair, at least beyond any easy fix. Let’s just hope for the best for now.

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