Fox is developing a new Planet of the Apes film under the Disney umbrella with director Wes Ball. Originating in 1968, the Planet of the Apes movie franchise experienced a new wave of popularity thanks to the rebooted series that began with 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Starring Andy Serkis as Caesar, Rise spawned two critically-acclaimed sequels - Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes - forming one of the decade's strongest cinematic trilogies. War brilliantly wrapped up Caesar's story, but fans know there's still plenty of potential for future installments.
With Disney's acquisition of 20th Century Fox becoming official earlier this year, Planet of the Apes is now one of the many media properties calling the Mouse House home. And understanding how popular the brand is, the studio isn't going to let Apes sit on the shelf and collect dust. During their CinemaCon presentation back in April, Disney said they would make more Planet of the Apes films. Now, they're beginning to put the pieces for such a project in place.
According to THR, Ball has come aboard to direct the next Planet of the Apes movie. It's unknown if this will be a full-on franchise reboot or take place in the continuity of the recent trilogy. Either way, this development is noteworthy for being Disney's first attempt to bring back a classic Fox property.
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.
War for the Planet of the Apes was a modest box office success, grossing $490.7 million globally against an $150 million production budget. However, that haul was significantly less than predecessor Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ($710.6 million), suggesting some viewers lost interest in the franchise between those entries. As such, there may not be an overwhelming demand right now for another Planet of the Apes movie, and Disney will be tasked with reigniting enthusiasm in the series. Of course, that will largely depend on what story Ball and company have in mind, so fingers crossed they have something special up their sleeves.