Back in 2008, commercial filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. signed on to make his feature directing debut on the Zack Snyder-developed Army of the Dead, a follow-up to Snyder’s 2004 zombie pic Dawn of the Dead. When the project stalled, van Heijningen went on to helm Universal’s The Thing instead, but continued to harbor hopes that Army of the Dead would take off eventually; as recently as this past fall, van Heijningen was telling outlets that Army of the Dead had could still be revived at Warner Bros.

However, the months since then have apparently worn away at van Heijningen’s optimism, because he’s now saying that the project is unlikely to happen. Read his comments after the jump.

Penned by Joby Harold based on an original idea by Snyder, Army of the Dead would’ve followed a woman who gets trapped inside zombie-infested Las Vegas while trying to uncover the origins of a zombie outbreak. Meanwhile, her father enlists the aid of a mercenary group in trying to rescue her — but the guys he hires have ideas of their own, which have to do with the copious amounts of loot still stored throughout the city’s casinos. Van Heijningen revealed some truly twisted details a few months ago (two words: zombie rape), but it seems the shock factor wasn’t enough to make Warner Bros. forget about the project’s sizable price tag.

“I don’t know if that’s going to happen – it was really expensive, because it was going to have to shoot in Las Vegas,” he told Movie Hole in a recent interview. “They didn’t really want us to shoot in Las Vegas – because of the expense of shooting in Las Vegas. I really don’t think it’s going to happen.”

Given how poorly van Heijningen’s The Thing and Snyder’s Sucker Punch fared at the box office, it’s not tough to see why Warner Bros. would want to play it safe. It’s possible that if Snyder’s Man of Steel, also at Warner Bros., exceeds expectations, he could use that to help turn things around. Based on van Heijningen’s comments, though, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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