Released last August, Rise of the Planet of the Apes overcame months of lackluster buzz to become one of the year’s unexpected blockbusters. It was the first truly great film in the Apes franchise since 1972’s Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and it benefited strongly from the central performance by Andy Serkis as the intelligent ape Caesar and the revolutionary motion-capture CGI used to bring the character to life. Although the actor’s performance was overlooked at Oscar time (as many great performances tend to be) the film’s impact on audiences and critics around the world was undeniable.
Rise‘s $468 million worldwide gross all but guaranteed additional sequels and in November we reported that Serkis had signed on to reprise the role of Caesar in a future return to the Planet of the Apes for a seven-figure salary. Director Rupert Wyatt was also set to return as his original contract for Rise contained an option for a sequel, with Rise screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver writing the script for the next Apes movie.
In an interview with Collider, 20th Century Fox CEO Tom Rothman gave a status update on the next Apes sequel, including the film’s targeted release date:
Collider: I loved Rise of the Planet of the Apes. What’s the status of the sequel?
Rothman: That’s very much on the tracks. We’re developing a script. Rupert Wyatt, who directed the first one, will direct the second one. We’re pushing forward aggressively, so the script’s being written now.
Collider: Do you have an idea of a time frame you’d like to release it?
Rothman: Yeah, I think it would make sense if we can, you know we serve no wine before it’s time, but the goal for us would be summer of 2014, if that’s possible.
The ending of Rise of the Planet of the Apes set the stage for an darker, epic sequel with humanity facing the continued uprising of the apes led by Caesar as well as (SPOILER!) a biological threat that is bound to tip the struggle in the simians’ favor. What hasn’t been confirmed yet is whether or not James Franco and Freida Pinto would be reprising their roles as Caesar’s human family. As long as the sequel continues to develop the plot threads established in Rise and take them to their logical conclusion while upping the ante on the visual effects I will be at the theater opening day.