Twentieth Century Fox may be owned by Mickey Mouse, but they still want to be in the Apes business.
The Hollywood reporter is stating that the Disney subsidy has brought on director Wes Ball to oversee the development of a new installment in their long-running Planet Of The Apes franchise.
There is no word as to whether Ball’s take on the material will directly continue on from the trilogy of Apes films that ended with Matt Reeves’s War For The Planet Of The Apes or if start fresh.
Based on the French novel by Pierre Boule, the franchise launched in 1968 with Charleton Heston as an astronaut marooned on a planet where it appeared that apes evolved from humans and had dominance over them. It was in the film’s final, now iconic moments that he discovered that he had traveled through time to the distant future and had been on Earth all along. The film and its heady science fiction high concept thematic cocktail of race relations and nuclear war fears struck a chord with audiences and was a hit which spawned an initial cycle of four sequels and a short-lived TV series.
An attempt by Tim Burton in 2001 to relaunch the franchise failed. A decade later Rupert Wyatt had more success with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, which starred Andy Serkis as Caesar, a chimpanzee whose intelligence is vastly accelerated due to a virus which proves deadly to humans. Reeves took over the franchise for 2014’s Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and 2017’s War.
Ball is no stranger to dystopian futures, having been the driving force on the big screen adaptation of the Maze Runner young adult novels. The films were produced for a modest budget but managed to bring over a billion dollars at the international box office in total. Ball had previously been working on an adaptation of the graphic novel series Mouse Guard for Disney, but the studio halted that project once the projected price tag got too big for their liking.
It is no surprise that Fox/Disney would be looking for someone to take on the Apes franchise following Reeves moving over to Warner Brothers and his The Batman film. Since all of their superhero properties have been moved over to Marvel Studios post-Disney acquisition, Apes is now one of the studio’s most successful and long lasting franchises. Fox’s other recent attempts to continue other science-fiction franchises such as 2018’s The Predator and 2017’s Alien: Covenant, have not proved to be the critical or box office successes that the studio hoped for.