Last summer, the success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a big surprise to movie pundits and the executives at 20th Century Fox. It was the sleeper hit of 2011 thanks to its creative re-imagining of the original 1969 source material, its groundbreaking motion-capture technology, and overall good storytelling. Bringing all of those elements together was director Rupert Wyatt. But in an effort to cut costs, 20th Century Fox been unable to come to a deal with Wyatt for the sequel film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, due out in theaters in 2014.
Wyatt walked away from the project for the same reasons Gary Ross left The Hunger Games sequel project; the studio didn’t want to pay him more money. Rise of the Planet of the Apes took in an estimated $483 million worldwide, and 20th Century Fox wants to move forward as quickly as possible to get ready for the May 2014 release date.
At the moment, 20th Century Fox has yet to sign a new director to helm Dawn of the Planet of the Apes but the studio is extremely happy with the script revisions by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver, working from screenwriter Scott Z. Burns’ draft. The sequel will be a continuation of Caesar’s life after the first film, but the question of how the apes eventually take over the planet remains to be answered. One things we do know is that the screenwriters will not incorporate time travel into the film’s narrative.
Wyatt’s future isn’t as unknown as the future of the Apes franchise; he is now attached to direct Agent 13, starring Charlize Theron. If the new director of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes can bring together a high concept like self-aware apes uprising against their human oppressors as well as Rupert Wyatt did, then 20th Century Fox will have another hit on their hands.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes will open in theaters everywhere on May 23, 2014.