It all began with the Pierre Boulle’s 1963 French novel La Planète des singes being acquired by Arthur P. Jacobs, a press agent turned film producer, for his APJAC Productions. Upon the success of his film adaptation of the novel as 1968’s Planet of the Apes, a quick succession of four sequels followed the original film from 1970 to 1973: Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. Then there were two television series: the 1974 live action CBS-TV Planet of the Apes and NBC-TV’s 1975 animated Return to the Planet of the Apes.
Then, in the wake of Star Wars’ success, 20th Century Fox released a series of five telefilms in 1981, which also played as foreign theatricals, produced and cut from the CBS series: Back to the Planet of the Apes, Forgotten City of the Planet of the Apes, Treachery and Greed on the Planet of the Apes, Life, Liberty and Pursuit on the Planet of the Apes, and Farewell to the Planet of the Apes.
After wallowing in ten years of development hell, the Apes rose again with a 2001 reimaging. Unfortunately, plans to continue the film series were stymied by the lukewarm critical and box-office reception to Tim Burton’s vision. A second reboot film series commenced with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes (directed by Rupert Wyatt), which was followed by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014 and War for the Planet of the Apes in 2017 (both directed by Matt Reeves).
Shortly before the July 2017 release of War for the Planet of the Apes, 20th Century Fox issued a press release that stated director Matt Reeves was interested in continuing the storyline. Then, in April 2019, after The Walt Disney Company acquired 20th Century Fox Studios, the Fox shingle announced that they officially began development on future Apes films. Those plans were confirmed on December 3, 2019, with director Wes Ball (The Maze Runner trilogy film series) being hired to direct an untitled fourth film in the reboot series.
It is unknown if Wes Ball’s vision will serve as a follow up to Matt Reeves’s War for the Planet of the Apes or if it will serve as the first film in a third series reboot.
Stay tuned . . .
And speaking of Disney’s rebooting of the Star Wars franchise, be sure to visit with us as we explore the films that inspired Star Wars and the films that Star Wars inspired, as B&S Movies continues its Exploring series with “Exploring: Before Star Wars” and “Exploring: After Star Wars.”
Here’s our full list of Ape films reviewed this week:
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)
Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)
Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)
Planet of the Apes: The Five Telefilms from the 1974 Series (1981) *
Empire of the Apes (2013)
Eva, The Savage Venus: Italy’s Planet of the Apes (1968) *
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974) *
Night of Bloody Apes: Mexico’s Planet of the Apes (1972)
O Trapalhoa no Planalto dos Macacos: The Brazilian Planet of the Apes (1976)
Planet of Dinosaurs (1978) *
Revenge from Planet Ape: The Spanish Planet of the Apes (1978) *
Revolt of the Empire of the Apes (2017)
Saru no Gundan: Japan’s Planet of the Apes (1974) *
Sex on Planet Ape: The Lost Erotic Ape Movies (1979 – 2002) *
Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975) *
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* Reviews by R.D Francis