It's the apes' planet. We just live on it.
A decade after they returned in Tim Burton's remake, the apes are getting another fresh start.
Fox announced Thursday that "Rise of the Apes," a reprise of the studio's "Planet of the Apes" franchise, is coming next summer.
The studio had been known to be developing a new version of the oft-told tale, this time with Peter Chernin's production company and Rupert Wyatt, director of the Sundance prison drama "The Escapist." Now, the studio says it will move forward, with a notion to push production and release the Wyatt film next June 24.
It's the second big-budget 2011 movie that Fox has scheduled in the last week, after its announcement several days ago of "X-Men: First Class," and it ensures that a six-week period next spring and summer is going to be rife with sequels and franchises, including "Mission: Impossible," "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Green Lantern."
June 24 is also the release date for "Cars 2," suggesting that Fox won't be pursuing family or kiddie audiences with this one, lest you thought they would.
The selling point here is that the production will use Weta, the company that did a lot of effects work for Fox's "Avatar." Not many details yet on the plot, though the studio said it would be set in present-day San Francisco (maybe at the end they’ll discover they were on a distant planet the whole time).
The studio also said it would be "a reality-based cautionary tale, a science fiction/science fact blend, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of war." Sounds good from this distance, though let's hope the apes aren't blue.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Charlton Heston in the original "Planet of the Apes." Credit: 20th Century Fox
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