Planet of the Apes

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Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes (logo).svg
Creator Pierre Boulle
Original work La Planète des Singes
Print publications
Novels La Planète des Singes
Comics List of comics
Films and television
Films Planet of the Apes (1968)
Beneath the Planet of the Apes
Escape from the Planet of the Apes
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
Battle for the Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes (2001)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Television series Planet of the Apes
Return to the Planet of the Apes
Games
Video games Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes is an American media franchise consisting of films, books, television series and other media about a world where humans and intelligent apes clash for control. The series began with French author Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel La Planète des Singes, translated into English as Monkey Planet and Planet of the Apes. The 1968 film adaptation, Planet of the Apes, was a critical and commercial success, initiating a series of sequels, tie-ins and derivative works. Originally owned by producer Arthur P. Jacobs' APJAC Productions, 20th Century Fox has owned the franchise's rights and privileges since 1973.[1]

The 1968 film was followed by four sequels between 1970 and 1973: Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. It also spawned two television series in 1974 and 1975. In 2001, Tim Burton directed a "re-imagined" film version, Planet of the Apes. A new reboot series commenced in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes; this was followed in 2014 by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, with another sequel planned. All of these versions have in turn led to other media and merchandising tie-ins.

La Planète des Singes[edit]

The series began with French author Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel La Planète des Singes. A social satire concerning an astronaut's voyage to a world where intelligent apes dominate primitive humans, Boulle wrote the novel in six months after the "humanlike expressions" of gorillas at the zoo inspired him to contemplate the relationship between man and ape.[2] La Planète des Singes was heavily influenced by 18th- and 19th-century fantastical travel narratives, especially Jonathan Swift's satirical Gulliver's Travels. It is one of several of Boulle's works to use science fiction tropes and plot devices to comment on the failings of human nature and mankind's overreliance on technology. However, Boulle rejected the science fiction label for his work, instead terming it "social fantasy".[2] Boulle considered the novel one of his minor works, though it proved to be a hit. Xan Fielding translated it into English as Monkey Planet for publication in the UK; the publishers changed the title to Planet of the Apes for the American release.[3]

La Planète des Singes begins with a frame story in which wealthy couple Jinn and Phyllis discover a message in a bottle while vacationing in space. Inside is the account of Ulysse Mérou, a French journalist who participated in a mission to the distant planet of Soror. In Mérou's story, the astronauts find Soror inhabited by speechless, animalistic humans who are hunted and enslaved by an advanced society of apes. Apes kill Mérou's companions and take him captive, mating him with a woman named Nova. However, two sympathetic chimpanzee scientists, Zira and Cornelius, help him demonstrate his intelligence. Mérou participates in an archaeological dig that reveals humans had once dominated Soror until their complacency allowed their more industrious ape slaves to overthrow them. After this revelation, Nova gives birth to a baby who displays Mérou's intelligence, further disquieting the apes. Fearing for their lives, Mérou and his family steal a spaceship and fly to Earth. However, upon arrival (hundreds of years later, due to time dilation), they find that apes have taken over just as they had on Soror. Mérou leaves his account as a warning before departing. In a final twist, Jinn and Phyllis are revealed to be chimpanzees who reject Mérou's story as impossible.[2][4]

Boulle's literary agent Allain Bernheim brought the novel to the attention of American film producer Arthur P. Jacobs, who had came to Paris looking for new properties to adapt. To explain his interests, Jacobs had told agents, "I wish King Kong hadn't been made so I could make it." Bernheim initially approached Boulle about a Françoise Sagan novel, which Boulle turned down. Remembering Jacobs' earlier comment about King Kong, Bernheim mentioned La Planète des Singes, not expecting Jacobs would be interested. However, the story intrigued Jacobs, who bought the film rights immediately.[5]

Original film series[edit]

Planet of the Apes[edit]

After optioning the film rights to Boulle's novel, Arthur P. Jacobs spent over three years trying to convince filmmakers to take on the project. Jacobs hired a succession of artists to create test sketches, and hired veteran television writer Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, to write the script. However, as production costs were estimated at over $10 million, no studio in either Hollywood or Europe would assume the risk. Jacobs and associate producer Mort Abrahams persevered, and eventually got commitment from actor Charlton Heston to star; Heston in turn recommended director Franklin J. Schaffner. The team recorded a brief screen test featuring Heston, which ultimately convinced 20th Century Fox the film could succeed.[6][7]

However, Fox insisted on changes to reduce the budget to a more manageable $5.8 million. Rod Serling's script had already changed elements of Boulle's novel, introducing Cold War themes; notably Serling wrote a new twist ending that revealed humans had destroyed themselves through nuclear warfare.[8] The producers hired veteran writer Michael Wilson, who had previously written the adaptation of Boulle's novel The Bridge over the River Kwai, to rewrite Serling's script. To save on special effects costs, Wilson's script called for an ape society more primitive than appeared in the novel. The new script changed much of the plot and dialogue, but retained the Cold War themes and Serling's ending.[9][10][11] John Chambers created the innovative makeup effects, for which he received an honorary Oscar at the 41st Academy Awards, the first ever given to a make-up artist.[12]

In the film, American astronaut George Taylor (Charlton Heston) and his crew crash on a strange planet after spending two thousand years in hibernation. They soon encounter mute, primitive humans who raid their clothing and supplies. A group of horseback riding gorillas attack, eliminating Taylor's comrades and shooting him in the throat before rounding him up with the other humans. Temporarily unable to speak due to his injury, Taylor is turned over to chimpanzee scientist Zira (Kim Hunter), who treats his wounds and pairs him with a human woman, Nova (Linda Harrison). Zira and her fiancee, chimpanzee archaeologist Cornelius (Roddy McDowall), become convinced of Taylor's intelligence, but are harshly rebuked by orangutan science minister Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans). Taylor escapes and shocks the apes by demonstrating he can speak. He is then subjected to a tribunal and threatened privately by Dr. Zaius, who believes he is from the Forbidden Zone, a mysterious region proscribed in the apes' religion. Zira and Cornelius free Taylor and Nova and take them to the Forbidden Zone, Zaius pursues them with the army. After a standoff, the group and Zaius explore an archaeological discovery Zaius had covered up: an ancient human ruin that proves men once had an advanced civilization. Zaius allows Taylor to depart with Nova further into the Forbidden Zone, warning him he may not like what he finds. In the iconic twist ending, they come upon a ruined Statue of Liberty, revealing that humans had wiped out their own civilization through war.

The film was released on February 8, 1968. It was a smash success with both critics and audiences, breaking contemporary box office records and opening to rave reviews. Fox approached Jacobs and Abrahams about filming a sequel. Though they had not made the film with sequels in mind, its success led them to consider the prospect.[13]

Beneath the Planet of the Apes[edit]

Planning for the Planet of the Apes sequel, eventually titled Beneath the Planet of the Apes, began two months after the original's release in February 1968. Jacobs and Abrahams initially considered several treatments by Rod Serling and Pierre Boulle, but ultimately turned them down.[14] Eventually, in fall 1968 the producers hired Paul Dehn to write the script; he would become the primary writer for the franchise.[15][16] Charlton Heston was uninterested in a sequel, but agreed to shoot a few scenes if his character were killed off and his salary donated to charity.[17] In one of many major rewrites, Dehn altered the script to center on a new character, Brent, played by James Franciscus.[18] With director Franklin J. Shaffner unavailable due to his work on Patton, the producers hired television director Ted Post on January 8, 1969.[19] Post struggled with the material, especially after the studio cut the budget to $3.4 million.[20]

Picking up just after Planet of the Apes, Beneath opens with Taylor (Heston) and Nova (Linda Harrison) exploring the Forbidden Zone. They see strange fire and Taylor disappears into a vortex. Shortly after, a spaceship carrying 20th-century astronaut Brent (Franciscus), who had been sent to find Taylor's crew but inadvertently followed them into Earth's future, crashes into the Forbidden Zone. Brent finds Nova wearing Taylor's dog tag, and they travel to Ape City, where Brent learns of the simian civilization and meets Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (David Watson, replacing Roddy McDowall due to a scheduling conflict). Meanwhile gorilla General Ursus (James Gregory) and a reluctant Dr. Zaius (Maurice Evans) announce a military expedition into the Forbidden Zone. Zira helps Brent and Nova escape Ape City and they head back to the Forbidden Zone. Entering the ruins of Queensboro Plaza, they discover a colony of telepathic mutant humans led by Méndez (Paul Richards) inhabiting the former New York City Subway. The mutants worship an ancient nuclear bomb they plan to unleash if the apes breach their sanctuary. Taken prisoner, Brent finds Taylor, who realizes the bomb will destroy the entire planet if detonated. The apes attack, and Méndez arms the bomb before Ursus kills him; the apes also kill Brent and Nova and mortally wound Taylor. Taylor begs Dr. Zaius to help him disarm the bomb, but Zaius refuses. In his final act, Taylor hits the activation switch, destroying the world.

Beneath the Planet of the Apes opened on May 26, 1970. Unlike the first film, it was poorly reviewed. Critics typically regard it as the worst of the Apes sequels other than the fifth film, Battle for the Planet of the Apes.[21] However, it was a major box office hit, nearing the original's numbers. Despite its apocalyptic ending, Fox requested another sequel, turning the films into a series.[22][23][24]

Escape from the Planet of the Apes[edit]

Following the financial success of Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Arthur P. Jacobs recruited writer Paul Dehn to write a new script with a brief telegram: "Apes exist, Sequel required." Dehn immediately started work on what became Escape from the Planet of the Apes. The producers hired a new director, Don Taylor.[24] Fox gave the production a greatly diminished budget ($2.5 million), which required a tight production schedule.[25] To work around the budget, as well as Beneath's seemingly definitive ending, the film took the series in a new direction by transporting Zira (Kim Hunter) and Cornelius (Roddy McDowall, returning to the role after being absent from Beneath) into the contemporary United States rather than the ape-dominated future, reducing the need for expensive sets and ape make-up effects.[26] The new film dwelt more heavily on themes of racial conflict, which became a primary focus through the rest of the series.[24]

Escape's opening establishes that Zira (Kim Hunter), Cornelius (Roddy McDowall) and their chimpanzee colleague Dr. Milo (Sal Mineo) escaped the destruction of Earth using Taylor's spaceship and travelled through a time warp back to 1973. They initially try to hide their ability to speak and their knowledge of the future from the humans, who put them in the care of scientists Stephanie Branton (Natalie Trundy) and Lewis Dixon (Bradford Dillman) at the Los Angeles Zoo. However, Zira frustratedly reveals she can speak, and shortly after Milo is killed by a zoo gorilla. A Presidential Commission investigates Zira and Cornelius, who reveal parts of their story and subsequently become celebrities. Branton and Dixon advise them to keep the details of humanity's fate secret for the time being, but the President's Science Advisor Otto Hasslein (Eric Braeden) discovers Zira is pregnant and fears they will bring about the destruction they predict. Through increasingly intense interrogation methods he learns of the future war in which apes will subjugate humanity, and of Zira's experiments on humans. After the final questioning, Cornelius accidentally kills an orderly for calling his child a "little monkey." Hasslein uses this as a pretext to order the apes killed; the President agrees to abort the pregnancy and sterilize Cornelius and Zira, but refuses to execute them. However, Branton and Dixon secretly shelter the family with sympathetic circus owner Armando (Ricardo Montalban); Zira gives birth to a baby they name Milo. Hasslein and the police pursue the apes, who flee to Los Angeles Harbor. Hasslein shoots Zira and the baby, and Cornelius shoots Hasslein before being killed by a sniper. They die in each other's arms, but the ending reveals that Zira and Cornelius had secretly switched Milo for one of Armando's circus apes.

Escape from the Planet of the Apes opened on May 21, 1971, less than a year after Beneath. It was well received by critics.[27] From this point critics began seeing the films less as independent units and more as installments in a greater work; Frederick S. Clarke noted the burgeoning series had "the promise of being the first epic of filmed science fiction."[28] It also performed well at the box office, though not as strongly as its predecessors. Fox ordered a third sequel.[29]

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes[edit]

Based on the strong positive response to Escape, Fox ordered Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, though it provided a comparatively low budget of $1.7 million.[29] Paul Dehn returned as the scriptwriter, and the producers hired J. Lee Thompson to direct. Thompson had worked with Jacobs during the planning stages of Planet, but scheduling conflicts had made him unavailable to participate in the series.[30] For Conquest, Thompson and Dehn focused heavily on the theme of racial conflict, an ancillary concern in the early films that became a major theme in Escape.[31] In particular, Dehn associated the apes with African-Americans and modeled the plot after the 1966 Watts Riots and other episodes from the Civil Rights Movement.[32] Roddy McDowall signed on to play Caesar, or Milo, the son of his earlier character Cornelius.[33]

Set in the near future, the film follows Caesar (McDowall), son of Zira and Cornelius, who has been raised secretly by paternal circus owner Armando (Ricardo Montalban). As predicted in Escape, dogs and cats have gone extinct, leading humans to import apes, first as pets, but now as a source of slave labor. While advertising their circus in a large city, Caesar and Armando witness humans abusing ape slaves; Caesar shouts, "lousy human bastards!" The crowd grows agitated at the prospect of a talking ape, but Armando claims the words were his. Following the confusion, Armando plans to bluff their way out of trouble with the authorities, telling Caesar to hide among his kind and warning him not to expose his identity. An incognito Caesar is enslaved and sold to Governor Breck (Don Murray), to be supervised by the kindly MacDonald (Hari Rhodes). Meanwhile, Breck's subordinate Kolp (Severn Darden) interrogates Armando; threatened with a machine that will force him to tell the truth, Armando leaps out the window to preserve Caesar's secret. Hearing the news, Caesar plots an ape rebellion. However, Kolp and Breck grow suspicious about Caesar's identity and torture him into speaking. McDonald saves Caesar from execution, and Caesar escapes to launch the rebellion. After a climactic battle with the riot police, the apes seize control.

Conquest opened June 30, 1972. Reviews were mixed. However, the ending left the series open to another sequel, and the film was successful enough that Fox greenlit another film.[34]

Battle for the Planet of the Apes[edit]

Fox approved Battle for the Planet of the Apes with a budget of $1.7 million. The studio considered a sixth sequel, but ultimately dropped the idea.[35] Growing tired of the series, the filmmakers went into Battle knowing it would be the last of the run.[36] J. Lee Thompson returned as director. Series writer Paul Dehn submitted a treatment, but illness forced him to leave the film before completing the script. The producers subsequently hired John William Corrington and Joyce Hooper Corrington to write the script.[37][38] Battle continued Conquest's focus on themes of racial conflict and domination. However, likely based in part on the studio's wishes, the Corringtons discarded Dehn's more pessimistic treatment in favor of a story with a more hopeful, though ambiguous, resolution.[39]

The film begins with a frame narrative in which the orangutan Lawgiver (John Huston) recounts the story of Caesar, 700 years later. In the main storyline, Caesar (Roddy McDowall) leads the apes following a devastating war that destroyed much of the world. He allows surviving humans to live as subjects, angering the gorilla general Aldo (Claude Akins). Hoping to learn of his parents and the future, Caesar, his human assistant MacDonald (Austin Stoker; the brother of Hari Rhodes' character), and his orangutan adviser Virgil (Paul Williams) journey to the Forbidden City, a radioactive ruin. They find the film archives they seek, but soon radiation-scarred humans led by by Governor Kolp (Severn Darden) and Méndez (Paul Stevens) chase them out. Back at Ape City, Caesar reports his discoveries, and Aldo plots a coup; he mortally wounds Caesar's son Cornelius (Bobby Porter) when he overhears. Meanwhile, Kolp interprets Caesar's expedition as an attack and declares war; Aldo uses this as a pretense to imprison the Ape City humans. After a long battle, the apes prevail. In the aftermath, Aldo challenges Caesar, but Virgil reveals he murdered Cornelius, violating sacred law: "ape shall never kill ape". Caesar chases Aldo to his death. He releases the humans, and both groups commit to building a new equal society. The ending reveals the Lawgiver has told this story to an integrated audience of ape and human children; the final shot depicts a statue of Caesar shedding a tear.

The film opened on June 15, 1973. It was the lowest grossing film of the franchise, with a domestic total of $8.8 million.[40] However, the film went on to earn an estimated $4 million in North American rentals in 1973.[41] The film received poor reviews from critics, who regard it as the weakest of the five films.[21] It holds a 38% rating on the review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 24 critical reviews.[42] Critics have offered various interpretations of the film's message, particularly the intentionally ambiguous imagery in the ending. By one interpretation, the statue cries tears of joy because the species have broken the cycle of oppression, giving the series an optimistic ending. By another, the statue weeps because racial strife still exists, implying the dystopian future of Planet and Beneath is unavoidable.[43]

Television series[edit]

Planet of the Apes[edit]

In addition to their box office grosses, the films earned very high ratings when they were broadcast on television after their theatrical run. To capitalize on this success, Arthur P. Jacobs conceived of a hour-long live action television series to follow the films. He originally thought of the idea in 1971 during the production of Conquest, which he then anticipated would be the final film. However, he shelved the project once Conquest proved to be a hit and Fox requested another sequel. Jacobs died on June 27, 1973, bringing an end to the ANJAC era of the Planet of the Apes franchise. Former Fox executive Stan Hough took over as producer for the television project, titled Planet of the Apes and aired on CBS. It premiered on CBS on September 13, 1974.[35]

The show follows two 20th-century American astronauts, Alan Virdon (Ron Harper) and Peter Burke (James Naughton), who pass through a time warp to the year 3085. They find Earth ruled by intelligent apes who dominate primitive humans (unlike the original film, the humans are able to speak). The astronauts soon run afoul of orangutan Councillor Zaius (Booth Coleman) and the ape elite, who fear their ideas of equality and accounts of an advanced human civilization in the past will lead to a human revolt. Zaius' young chimpanzee assistant Galen (Roddy McDowall) becomes convinced of their story and helps them escape, and subsequently joins them. The episodes portray Virdon, Burke, and Galen as they travel through future California, aiding downtrodden humans and apes while dodging the relentless pursuit of gorilla general General Urko (Mark Lenard).

Planet of the Apes premiered on CBS on September 13, 1974, filling the 8–9 p.m. time slot on Fridays. It earned low ratings during its run. According to writers Joe Russo, Larry Landsman, and Edward Gross, it suffered from repetitive storytelling and CBS' decision to craft the show for children, thus losing interest among the adult viewers who had made the films so popular.[44][45] It was cancelled after 14 episodes, the last airing on December 20, 1974.[46]

Scholar Eric Greene finds the show's timeline significant: set in 3085, it occurs about 900 years before the original film, and 400 years after the Lawgiver's sermon in Battle. By depicting a future where apes dominate humans, it implies the Lawgiver's message of equality between man and ape has failed, giving weight to the more pessimistic interpretation of Battle's ending.[47] Greene writes that beyond passing references, the show emphasized the theme of racial conflict less than the films had, though two episodes made it the central focus: "The Trap" and "The Liberator".[48]

Return to the Planet of the Apes[edit]

In 1975, after the failure of the live action television series, NBC decided to adapt Planet of the Apes for an animated series. The network contracted David H. DePatie and Friz Freleng of DePatie-Freleng Enterprises to produce the show as a half-hour Saturday morning cartoon, titled Return to the Planet of the Apes. Doug Wildey, co-creator of Jonny Quest, took on most creative control as associate producer, storyboard director, and supervising director.[49] Wildey had only watched Planet and Beneath, and thus relied on them for his interpretation. As such, the show did not prominently feature the time travel plot and racial conflict that had driven Escape, Conquest, and Battle, and instead returned to the Vietnam War and Cold War themes prominent in the first two films.[50]

The animated series premiered September 6, 1975. Thirteen episodes were broadcast between September 6 and November 21, 1975.[51] Both series spun off a variety of tie-in toys.[52]

21st century films[edit]

Planet of the Apes[edit]

In 2001, Planet of the Apes, a remake of the original 1968 film was released. Directed by Tim Burton, it featured an entirely new interpretation of Boulle's novel and state-of-the-art visual effects and makeup for the apes.[53]

Rise of the Planet of the Apes[edit]

In 2011, 20th Century Fox produced a reboot to the original series, called Rise of the Planet of the Apes, directed by Rupert Wyatt. The film stars James Franco and tells the story of an ape rebellion on Earth, led by a genetically-altered chimpanzee named Caesar (Andy Serkis). It is intended to be the first in a new series of films.[54]

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes[edit]

The sequel to Rise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, was released on July 11, 2014, with Matt Reeves directing and Serkis reprising his role.[55]

Untitled third reboot series film[edit]

An untitled third film in the reboot series with Matt Reeves returning to direct is scheduled for release on July 29, 2016.[56]

Spin-off media[edit]

Books[edit]

  • La Planète des singes, (Monkey Planet or Planet of the Apes, in English), a 1963 French science fiction novel by Pierre Boulle that inspired the Planet of the Apes franchise.
  • Planet of the Apes: The Fall (2002), a novel by William T. Quick that serves as a prequel to the 2001 remake film.
  • Planet of the Apes: Colony (2003), a sequel novel by Quick that follows the events of the 2002 novel.[57]
  • Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes (2011), illustrated novel by Andrew E. C. Gaska, based on a story by Gaska, Rich Handley and Christian Berntsen, set in the same universe as the iconic 1968 film. It explores the storyline of what happened to Landon during the events of the first film. The book features illustrations by several different artists, including Jim Steranko, Matt Busch, Dave Dorman, Scott Hampton, Joe Jusko, Ken Kelly, Christopher Moeller, Tom Scioli and Mark Texeira.

Comics[edit]

Planet of the Apes-based comics have been published almost continuously since 1968 by several companies including: Marvel, Dark Horse, and Malibu. BOOM! Studios is the most recent company to publish comics within the series, launching a series of issues taking place prior to the events of the original 1968 film.

Games[edit]

Milton Bradley released a board game, in 1974, for 2-4 players, ages 8 and up. Each turn would consist of a roll of 2 dice. The player rolling would move their token by one of the dice (or die) and another player's token by the other dice (die). The object was to trap all opponents in a cage that was located in the center of the board. The cover of the box included characters from the film Battle for the Planet of the Apes: Caesar & his family, the Lawgiver, and a gorilla sentry.[58]

In 1983, a game developed for the Atari VCS also entitled Planet of the Apes was to be the first computer game based on the Planet of the Apes series. However, a crash in the gaming industry at the time led to its advertised release being abandoned.[59] Many years later the prototype game began to circulate among gaming enthusiasts. It wasn't until 2001 that a video game based on the series was officially released. Constantly delayed,[60] Planet of the Apes was released by Fox Interactive in conjuncture with the 2001 remake film for Windows, PlayStation, and Game Boy Advance.[61]

In 2014, a partnership with 20th Century Fox and Ndemic Creations saw popular mobile/PC game Plague Inc. get a major Dawn of the Planet of the Apes-themed update. It allows players to create/customise a Simian Flu virus to try and infect the world and eradicate humanity whilst helping apes survive. [62]

Book and record sets[edit]

Power Records was an imprint of 'Peter Pan Records'. A media company that was based out of Newark, New Jersey, it produced children's read-along 'Book & Record' sets during the 1970s. These were 7x10" full color comics with a softcover and approximately 20 pages long. Included was a 7" 45 rpm record for narration, character dialogue, and sound effects. They retailed at around $1.49. In 1974, four out of the five Planet of the Apes films were produced as a set (Conquest of the Planet of the Apes was the missing adaptation). These were produced by APJAC productions and 20th Century Fox, not the Marvel comic connection as some have thought. The exact date of issue is hard to locate, but it's believed to have been in early 1975. Power offered some original adaptations from the series, as well, and a 12" 33 rpm LP that compiled the original set of 4, but with no booklet this time.


List of media[edit]

Feature films[edit]

Number Title Release date Director Timeline
1 Planet of the Apes February 8, 1968 Franklin J. Schaffner Original series
2 Beneath the Planet of the Apes May 27, 1970 Ted Post
3 Escape from the Planet of the Apes May 21, 1971 Don Taylor
4 Conquest of the Planet of the Apes June 29, 1972 J. Lee Thompson
5 Battle for the Planet of the Apes June 15, 1973
6 Planet of the Apes July 27, 2001 Tim Burton Remake
7 Rise of the Planet of the Apes August 5, 2011 Rupert Wyatt Reboot series
8 Dawn of the Planet of the Apes July 11, 2014 Matt Reeves
9 Untitled Third Reboot Series Film July 29, 2016

Reception[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Worldwide gross Budget
Planet of the Apes (1968) 89% (47 reviews)[63] $32,589,624[64] $5.4 million
Beneath the Planet of the Apes 41% (22 reviews)[65] $18,999,718[66] $3 million
Escape from the Planet of the Apes 78% (23 reviews)[67] $12,348,905[68] $2.5 million
Conquest of the Planet of the Apes 44% (18 reviews)[69] $9,700,000[70] $1.8 million
Battle for the Planet of the Apes 38% (24 reviews)[71] $8,844,595[72] $1.7 million
Planet of the Apes (2001) 45% (156 reviews)[73] 50 (34 reviews)[74] $362,211,740[75] $100 million
Rise of the Planet of the Apes 82% (248 reviews)[76] 68 (39 reviews)[77] $481,801,049[78] $93 million[78]
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 91% (182 reviews)[79] 79 (48 reviews)[80] $353,989,000[81] $170 million[81]
Total $926,495,455 $377.4 million

Characters[edit]

The following table shows the cast members who played the primary characters in the film series.

Character Film
Planet of the Apes (1968) Beneath the Planet of the Apes Escape from the Planet of the Apes Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Battle for the Planet of the Apes Planet of the Apes (2001) Rise of the Planet of the Apes Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Humans[edit]

George Taylor Charlton Heston Charlton Heston (archival footage)
Nova Linda Harrison
Brent James Franciscus
Mendez Paul Richards
Albina Natalie Trundy
Skipper Tod Andrews
Dr. Lewis Dixon Bradford Dillman
Dr. Stephanie ("Stevie") Branton Natalie Trundy
Dr. Otto Hasslein Eric Braeden
Armando Ricardo Montalbán
Governor Breck Don Murray
MacDonald Hari Rhodes
Kolp Severn Darden
MacDonald Austin Stoker
Mendez Paul Stevens
Jake Michael Stearns
Leo Davidson Mark Wahlberg
Daena Estella Warren
Birn Luke Eberl
Will Rodman James Franco James Franco (archival footage)
Caroline Aranha Freida Pinto
John Landon Brian Cox
Steven Jacobs David Oyelowo
Charles Rodman John Lithgow
Dodge Landon Tom Felton
Dreyfus Gary Oldman
Malcolm Jason Clarke
Ellie Keri Russell
Alexander Kodi Smit-McPhee
Carver Kirk Acevedo
Werner Jocko Sims
McVeigh Kevin Rankin
Finney Keir O'Donnell

Apes[edit]

Cornelius Roddy McDowall David Watson Roddy McDowall
Dr. Zira Kim Hunter
Dr. Zaius Maurice Evans Charlton Heston
Ursus James Gregory
Caesar Walker Edmiston (voice) Roddy McDowall Andy Serkis
Lisa Natalie Trundy
Aldo David Chow Claude Akins
Virgil Paul Williams
Nova Lisa Marie
Ari Helena Bonham Carter
Thade Tim Roth
Rocket Terry Notary
Maurice Karin Konoval
Cornelia Devyn Dalton Judy Greer
Koba Christopher Gordon Toby Kebbell
Blue Eyes Nick Thurston
Ash Larramie "Doc" Shaw
Grey Lee Ross

Crew[edit]

Job Film
Planet of the Apes
(1968)
Beneath the Planet of the Apes Escape from the Planet of the Apes Conquest of the Planet of the Apes Battle for the Planet of the Apes Planet of the Apes
(2001)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Untitled third film of the reboot series
Director Franklin J. Schaffner Ted Post Don Taylor J. Lee Thompson Tim Burton Rupert Wyatt Matt Reeves
Producer(s) Arthur P. Jacobs Richard D. Zanuck Peter Chernin,
Dylan Clark,
Rick Jaffa,
Amanda Silver
Music Jerry Goldsmith Leonard Rosenman Jerry Goldsmith Tom Scott Leonard Rosenman Danny Elfman Patrick Doyle Michael Giacchino
Writer(s) Michael Wilson,
Rod Serling
Paul Dehn John William Corrington,
Joyce Hooper Corrington
William Broyles, Jr.,
Lawrence Konner
Mark Rosenthal
Rick Jaffa,
Amanda Silver
Mark Bomback,
Rick Jaffa,
Amanda Silver
Matt Reeves,
Mark Bomback

1974 film marathon[edit]

In 1974, in preparation for the premiere of the Planet of the Apes television series, 20th Century Fox re-released the five theatrical films and called it the "Go Ape" marathon. The advertising campaign's major image featured a nondescript Ape pointing out to the viewer with the slogan "20th Century Fox Wants YOU to GO APE!", aping James Montgomery Flagg's famous Uncle Sam "I Want You for U.S. Army" poster. The marathon package was released with a PG rating, completely due to the MPAA rating that was given to "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" (All other films in the original Ape series had been rated G.)

Mego, who released the Planet of the Apes action figures, also had a tie-in promotion with the "Go Ape" marathon where they were giving away free passes to the marathon.

Shared plot elements[edit]

Taylor's spacecraft[edit]

Icarus is the fan-given name for the spacecraft in Planet of the Apes (1968), designed by art director William Creber. Similar spaceships, but with different doors and interiors, appear in Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), and the first episode of the Planet of the Apes (1974) television series. It also makes a cameo via news feed in Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011). Although unnamed in the films and the scripts, the name Icarus, coined by a fan named Larry Evans in 1972, was used by some toy model companies, then later in the Mr. Comics' miniseries Revolution on the Planet of the Apes. The film Rise of the Planet of the Apes did eventually utilize the name officially. Evans named the ship after the tragic Greek hero.[82]

The Forbidden Zone, as seen in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

Forbidden Zone[edit]

The Forbidden Zone in the Planet of the Apes movie series is the barren, lifeless area declared off-limits to all apes. While most apes do not know the precise reasons why the area is forbidden, it is generally understood to be a wasteland, one fit only for humans, outlaws, and fools. According to the secret scrolls available only to the senior orangutan clergy, the Forbidden Zone "was once a paradise" and humans "made a desert out of it"[83] as the result of a nuclear war which occurs off-screen between Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes.[84] To the apes' general public, however, the Forbidden Zone is forbidden simply because their ancient Lawgiver forbade it. In the first two films, the Forbidden Zone is the post-apocalyptic ruins of New York City, populated by telepathic human mutants whose Méndez religion seated at St. Patrick's Cathedral centers on the Alpha Omega bomb capable of burning the atmosphere and thus instantly destroying all life on Earth. The city depicted whole in Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and as a nuclear wasteland in Battle for the Planet of the Apes is unspecified although the skyline of Century City district of Los Angeles is prominently featured and no New York landmarks are seen; despite this, Battle ends with Méndez's creation of the mutants' religion around the atom bomb. The television series' forbidden city is set in the San Francisco Bay Area and, although in ruins, the city lacks telepathic mutants and the Méndez holy fallout religion. In the third episode the characters venture through a BART tunnel and see advertisements for San Francisco attractions.

Notes and references[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry; Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited. Thomas Dunne Book. pp. 4–6. ISBN 0312252390. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  3. ^ Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry; Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 4. ISBN 0312252390. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  4. ^ Becker, Lucille Frackman (1993). "Science and Detective Fiction: Complementary Genres on the Margins of French Literature". In Henry, Freeman G. French Literature Series: One The Margins of French Literature XX. Ropodi. pp. 122–124. ISBN 9051834268. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  5. ^ Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry; Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 2, 10. ISBN 0312252390. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry; Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited. Thomas Dunne Books. pp. 2–3. ISBN 0312252390. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ Greene, Eric (1996). Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series. McFarland. p. 2. ISBN 0786400870. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  8. ^ Greene, Eric (1996). Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series. McFarland. pp. 25–28. ISBN 0786400870. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  9. ^ Greene, Eric (1996). Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series. McFarland. p. 28. ISBN 0786400870. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  10. ^ Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry; Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 33. ISBN 0312252390. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  11. ^ Webb, Gordon C. (July–August 1998). "30 Years Later: Rod Serling's Planet of the Apes". Creative Screenwriting. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
  12. ^ Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry; Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 29, 42–44. ISBN 0312252390. Retrieved July 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ Greene, Eric (1996). Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series. McFarland. pp. 2–3, 57. ISBN 0786400870. Retrieved July 18, 2014. 
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  22. ^ Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry; Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 143. ISBN 0312252390. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  23. ^ Russo, Joe; Landsman, Larry; Gross, Edward (2001). Planet of the Apes Revisited. Thomas Dunne Books. p. 109. ISBN 0312252390. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  24. ^ a b c Greene, Eric (1996). Planet of the Apes as American Myth: Race and Politics in the Films and Television Series. McFarland. pp. 71–72. ISBN 0786400870. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
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  83. ^ Quoting Dr. Zaius' statements to George Taylor at Dr. Cornelius' archaeological cave in Planet of the Apes.
  84. ^ The Lawgiver's narration at the start of Battle for the Planet of the Apes, and discussed by many characters in that film.

Further reading[edit]

  • Handley, Rich (2009). Timeline of the Planet of the Apes. Hasslein Books. ISBN 978-0615253923.  Includes cover gallery.

External links[edit]