Disney have confirmed they will continue the current Planet of the Apes series, following their acquisition of 20th Century Fox.
There are a number of big-hitter franchises now under Disney’s wing: Avatar, Alien, Predator, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool. But while the future is clear for some, the fate of the Planet of the Apes franchise hasn’t really been discussed since the purchase of Fox’s assets.
As reported by Den of Geek, Disney’s CEO Bob Iger confirmed the Oscar-nominated Apes series will continue for the foreseeable future.
It isn’t all good news for Fox’s development slate. Following a quarterly earnings call, analysts found that Fox saw a $170 million loss in the third quarter. This isn’t particularly surprising: their last tent-pole release, Dark Phoenix, vastly under-performed at the box office, only bringing in $252m off of a $200m budget (as reported by Box Office Mojo).
To put that into context: the franchise’s lowest performing film, excluding Dark Phoenix, is the first X-Men, which earned $296 million from a $75 million budget. The highest-earning film is Deadpool, which earned $783m with a production budget of just $58m.
As reported by Den of Geek, Iger said:
One of the biggest issues was the Fox studio performance which was well below where it had been and well below where we hoped it would be when we made the acquisition… it will probably take a solid year, maybe two years, before we can have an impact on the films in production. We’re all confident we’re going to turn around the results of Fox live action.
The rebooted Planet of the Apes series, on the other hand, has been very reliable. The combined worldwide box office of the three films amounts to $1.68 billion – the highest performer was Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which raked in $710m.
Each of the films are great, but the last film, War for the Planet of the Apes, is a stunning, powerful blockbuster – it has the highest Rotten Tomatoes rating of the three, sitting at 93%. Its director, Matt Reeves, is helming the upcoming caped crusader reboot, The Batman.
Reeves told The Hollywood Reporter back in 2017 that he had an idea of where the series could go, despite the fact he wasn’t likely to return any time soon.
The whole idea of Bad Ape is that there are other apes out there, and those apes don’t have the benefits of Caesar’s leadership. The conflicts of the future are not going to be humans and apes, they will be apes and apes. I wanted to seed that idea because I thought there were a lot more stories and there are characters that I have grown to love.
Disney are hard at work reforming Fox’s assets: they recently announced Home Alone and Night at the Museum reboots as part of their new platform, Disney+.
One has to hope that the sense of film-making style that gave each of the Apes entries a unique feel, from the hopefulness of Rise to the despair of Dawn, isn’t lost in the acquisition.
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After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.