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'World War Z': Pitt Beats Out DiCaprio

It was a battle between Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, and Pitt emerged as the winner.

The shingles of the two stars -- Pitt's Plan B and DiCaprio's Appian Way -- were engaged in a competitive bidding war via their respective studios, Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, over an upcoming zombie horror book by Max Brooks titled "World War Z."

By Wednesday afternoon, the dust settled with Plan B/Paramount winning the movie rights.

In 2003, Brooks wrote "Zombie Survival Guide," which explained in great deadpan detail how to survive a supposedly impending zombie apocalypse. The book went on to become a surprise cult hit. "World War Z" also tackles the zombie genre but is set 10 years after a great global zombie epidemic and is a serious oral history of the future zombie told from many perspectives from around the world. Crown Publishing is putting the book out in the fall.

The galleys of the book went out around town late last week, but interest took awhile to ignite. By the time execs finally realized they had a potential tentpole franchise, the battlelines were drawn between Plan B and Appian Way. The bidding went back and forth between the two into Tuesday night and carried over into Wednesday. Sources say the rights sold for six figures against seven.

Pam Abdy and Ed Goemans will oversee for Paramount.

Brooks, repped by CAA, Brillstein-Grey and Ed Victor Ltd., was a writer on "Saturday Night Live" from 2001-03 and did voice work on the "Justice League" cartoon series.

There are no hard feelings between the companies, and DiCaprio is starring in "The Departed," the Martin Scorsese crime drama that Pitt and his Plan B are producing.


Borys Kit and Tatiana Siegel write for The Hollywood Reporter.

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