The Apes are back. Fox has brought on Wes Ball, the filmmaker behind the popular Maze Runner film series, to develop and direct a new Planet of the Apes feature, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The move makes Apes one of the first historically significant Fox titles to get the redevelopment treatment since Disney’s acquisition of the storied studio.
The original 1968 Planet of the Apes film, based on a novel by French writer Pierre Boulle and starring Charlton Heston, centers on an astronaut who lands on a planet and discovers an advanced ape civilization ruling over primitive humans. In the final, infamous twist, he learns he is actually on Earth, which had suffered an apocalyptic nuclear war.
The movie was a commercial and critical hit upon its release and spawned numerous sequels and a TV series throughout the 1970s. In 2001, Tim Burton remade the film as an action-adventure that failed to excite audiences. However, Fox found success again with a reboot trilogy that began with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an origin story chronicling how the primates took over, which featured envelope-pushing motion-capture technology and a stirring performance by Andy Serkis as Caesar, the Moses-like leader of the apes.
It is unclear whether the latest Apes project is meant to be a new reboot or an extension of the previous film series.
Ball’s Maze Runner trilogy, set in its own dystopian future, grossed almost $1 billion worldwide while being produced on modest budgets. The filmmaker was due to tackle a pricey and special effects-heavy adaptation of Boom! Comics’ Mouse Guard before that project was shelved by Disney earlier this year.
With Joe Hartwick Jr., his partner at Oddball Entertainment, Ball is producing the series The Night Market for Disney+. He is repped by Paradigm and Stone Genow.