Rise of the Planet of the Apes spent many years in development, many of them even in something close to its final form. Of course, the film proved to be a genuine hit, and it didn’t take Fox too long to set a release date for a sequel – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is on the calendar for May 13, 2014.
It often goes something like this. And then we might find the follow-up, being made under entirely different circumstances, not to mention more pressure, doesn’t get to benefit from the breathing space that strengthened the original.
According to Deadline, the studio’s desire for a quick turnaround has discouraged director Rupert Wyatt, who was sticking with the series and deep into planning part two.
It’s worth noting that their report says “he will” leave the sequel, not that “he has.”
I find it easy to see Fox’s side of the argument. They’re looking to strike while the iron is hot. And much of the groundwork for the sequel will have been done in developing the first film, so it really shouldn’t need the same protracted period of kicking back and forth.
Is it really too hard to develop, script, shoot and deliver a good feature in two years? Steven Soderbergh does it all of the time. Woody Allen has done it in a fraction of the time on numerous occasion. Even when you factor in the post-production needed for the extensive FX work of an Apes film, this is by no means an impossible time frame.
But, again, it’s not hard to see what Wyatt might be feeling: intense pressure – both to follow up at all, but also to do so against the ticking clock.
Perhaps the script simply hasn’t come along as much as it needed to by this point. Perhaps Wyatt’s eye has wandered to one of his other, previously back-burned projects. Or perhaps Fox were squeezing and squeezing on this film, and the director simply saw that he was on a hiding to nothing. Terrible.
If Wyatt leaves, there’s no obvious choice for a replacement. It’s likely to be a choice as surprising to us as Wyatt was for the first film.
I’ll be particularly interested in seeing how this develops.