The zombie action flick was routinely cited by hot-shot critics as an odds-on favorite to become one of the biggest box office disasters in recent history.
With a bloated budget, estimated at $400 million, and a plot so muddled the ending had to re-written and re-shot in post-production, it looked like it Pitt was headed for film infamy. But so far, it’s received a 67 percent critical rating on rottentomatoes, which puts it well within the “Fresh” category.
The film is doing even better among top critics at major Web outlets and newspapers. Based on their reviews, the film has received a 71 percent rating. Positive reviews are outpacing negative reviews by about two-to-one.
What’s more, 86 percent of those who saw the movie said they liked it, which bodes well for all-important word-of-mouth advertising, according to the site, which tracks reviews. It also received a “B+” rating from audiences, according to CinemaScore.
And the results are showing up at the box office. It beat expectations with a $25.5 million Friday opening and is expected to gross $63 milion over the weekend for a second place finish behind No. 1 “Monster’s University.” The Disney animated family film is expected to gross $79 million, according to deadline.com.
Among the film’s strengths, Pitt is getting high marks for his performance. “Pitt conducts himself manfully throughout the proceedings — he is never less than believable while facing off against this pandemi,” writes Peter Rainer in the Christian Science Monitor.
Even the snooty New Yorker gave it a thumbs up. “Despite some conventional passages and a soft ending, [Marc] Forster and Brad Pitt, who is a producer of the film as well as its star, pulled the picture together,” wrote critic Dave Denby.
Not surprisingly, opinion was fairly polarized; either critics liked it or hated it, there wasn’t much middle ground.
“It’s an anemic actioner that fosters excitement like dead limbs as it lumbers toward a conclusion,” wrote Joe Neumaier for the New York Daily News.
The movie focuses on Pitt a United Nations worker who is enlisted to help investigate the virus and the source of the outbreak that is turning millions of people into ravenously mad, human flesh-eating zombies. From there, it’s a cat and mouse game as Pitt descends into their world looking for answers.
The special effects are said to be eye-popping especially in 3D. Check out the trailer below. If you’ve seen the flick let us know your thoughts and follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest movie updates.