Fox is developing a new Planet of the Apes film under the Disney umbrella with director Wes Ball.
According to THR, it’s not entirely clear if the new film is meant to reboot the previous trilogy, which culminated with 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes, or if it will simply be a continuation of it. However, it’s notable nonetheless for being perhaps the biggest Fox property to be retooled by Disney since the latter acquired the former in March.
Of course, this news should hardly come as a surprise. In August, following posting a $170 million operating loss in its fiscal third quarter, Disney revealed its plans to take its newly acquired Fox assets, including Planet of the Apes, “in a new direction, with an all-new development slate that will focus on a select group of properties.”
Ball has experience with genre pictures, calling the shots on the Maze Runner film trilogy. Unfortunately, that series saw diminishing returns at the box office and earned mixed responses. At the same time, those were the first feature-length pictures Ball directed, and he did demonstrate some promise with them (particularly on the first one, which received the best reviews of the bunch). The hope obviously is Ball can continue to evolve his craft and deliver a compelling Apes film. Fox clearly has been interested in continuing their working relationship with the filmmaker, as Ball was pegged to direct the studio’s Mouse Guard adaptation before Disney dropped it. Hopefully this time, the parties are able to see their collaboration through.
The Planet of the Apes franchise began in 1963 with the French novel La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle. Five years later, the novel was adapted to film for the first time and spawned four sequels. Following the release of the fifth film in 1973, a live-action TV series hit the air in ’74 and an animated series in ’75. Then, in 2001, the original 1968 film was remade by Tim Burton and in 2011, the most recent film series kicked off with Rise of the Planet of the Apes.