The planet hasn't seen the last of CGI apes. It's been revealed that Disney's 20th Century Fox is moving forward with a new Planet of the Apes movie with Wes Ball, the filmmaker behind the successful Maze Runner franchise. Details on the project, for the time being, are slim but this is one of the first major Fox properties that Disney acquired in the massive $71.3 billion merger earlier this year that has been taped for development.
According to a new report, 20th Century Fox, which Disney now owns, has tapped Wes Ball to develop a new Planet of the Apes movie, with the intent being for him to direct. Fox had a great deal of luck rebooting the franchise in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was directed by Rupert Wyatt. The movie chronicles the origins of how the apes began their takeover of the planet, with the story focusing on Caesar, played by Andy Serkis. Two sequels were produced, 2014's Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and 2017's War for the Planet of the Apes. Both sequels were directed by Matt Reeves.
It was previously revealed during a Disney investor's call that they intended to move forward with further Planet of the Apes movies. However, Matt Reeves is currently busy prepping The Batman for Warner Bros., so he will be unavailable to continue the series as a director. Enter Wes Ball. Prior to the Disney merger, Ball had been prepping an adaptation of Mouse Guard, which was eventually scrapped. Ball is known best for directing The Maze Runner trilogy. The YA movies, working from relatively small budgets, made a total of $924 million at the global box office. So Ball knows how to make money while working in sci-fi dystopian future settings.
The biggest question here is what shape the project will ultimately take. Matt Reeves' sequels were critically heralded and grossed big bucks at the box office. War for the Planet of the Apes also left plenty of room for a continuation, but also opened the door for things to head in new directions. One would assume the logical move would be to pick things up where they left off. But it's possible that Disney could go the reboot route as well. For now, there is no firm indication one way or the other.
Planet of the Apes, released in 1968, starred Charlton Heston as an astronaut who finds himself on a strange planet inhabited by highly intelligent apes, only to find out later that he's actually on Earth in the distant future. Tim Burton directed a remake in 2001, which was a box office disaster and was a major critical disappointment. A series of sequels, including Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes, were produced in the 70s. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details on the project are made available. This news comes to us via The Hollywood Reporter.