Without revealing too much, those are just a few of the famous words uttered by Charlton Heston at the end of the original Planet of the Apes film in 1968. Since then there have been eight more films, two TV series and three video games in the franchise.
From a combined budget of just over half a billion dollars, the franchise has gone on to claim $2 billion in box office revenues – along with stacks of cash from other franchise offshoots such as video games, toys and fan merchandise.
With the latest film in the series only a year old, let’s take a look back at the popularity of the franchise and see if there are plans for more movies.
“God damn you all to hell!”
Planet of the Apes – the most unusual offshoots
The success of the original film initially led to a sharp increase of sales in the French novel, which the film was based on. However, it also inspired a whole host of other industries to take advantage of the movie’s popularity – and here are just a few.
The first ever parody of the film, The Milking of the Planet That Went Ape, was published in Mad Magazine in 1973 – illustrated by Mort Drucker and written by Arnie Kogen. Since then the film has been parodied in a host of TV shows like Futurama, Family Guy, South Park and Mad Men. One of the most famous parodies though came in 1998 when the creators of The Simpsons produced a musical version of The Planet of the Apes.
It was perhaps surprising that the idea of the film came from a novel rather than a comic as the story seems to fit in with the style and imagination of a comic book. Just a few years after the original film was released, Marvel and Malibu Comics released their own adaptations of The Planet of the Apes. When Tim Burton directed the 2001 remake, Dark Horse Comics also produced their own adaptation before Boom! Studios bought the licensing rights to the franchise. Boom have produced a series focusing on the Ape colony before the arrival of humans.
Online gaming sites are always looking for new ways to attract customers to their sites – so they work with games developers to design engaging titles that tap into new niches. Sure enough, there’s a Planet of the Apes version out there – and it’s been attracting huge numbers of fans who are keen to immerse themselves in their favourite franchise even further, while putting themselves in contention to win a juicy jackpot. Slot games based on films are increasingly popular. Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars and The Fast and the Furious are just three other options you have in this range of online slot games.
No successful film franchise would be complete if it did not have a video game based on it. Harry Potter, Star Wars and even Alvin and the Chipmunks have had video games based on them. Planet of the Apes is no different. The first Planet of the Apes video game was released in 2001 on Game Boy, PlayStation and PC after the success of the Tim Burton remake. Since then there have been two further video games based on the franchise that have both performed well commercially.
Where did the latest film leave us?
Let’s get back to the main driver of the franchise – the movies. Without wishing to reveal too many spoilers of the latest film War for the Planet of the Apes, the latest release in the series sees the hostilities between humans and apes continue. After several bloody battles between the two warring factions the apes are eventually led to a desert oasis where they decide to live in peace, away from the destruction of war. This ending leaves the door wide open for a sequel in which the apes are forced to abandon their desert retreat.
Should there be another film?
The problem with successful franchises is that they tend to carry on long after they should have finished, with money hungry executives keen to cash in on the popularity of their brand. This has been seen with previously popular franchises such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers and The Mummy.
Ultimately, the continuation of future franchises is based on the popularity of the films and the execution of interesting plots. War of the Planet of the Apes did well on this front, grossing just under $350 million from a production cost of $150 million.
Critically, the film fared well too. Director Matt Reeves received widespread praise for the plot, visual effects and cinematography. The film achieved an approval rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes which is a score reserved for truly good films.
The film deals with morally complex storylines and engages the viewer into actively thinking about the outcomes of the film and which characters to place their trust in. On the back of the success of this movie it seems likely that a sequel would be well received should it be produced well. Unlike other franchises, the appetite for more Planet of the Apes content doesn’t seem to be low.
Will there be a sequel?
The chances of a sequel seem unlikely with the arc of the story seemingly left at the progression from War of the Planet of the Apes to Planet of the Apes with relatively little in between. However, there is scope for a more detailed look at that progression in terms of character development. Indeed – character spin-offs are one way franchises can extend their lifespan, as the X-Men and Fantastic Four movies can attest.
Director Matt Reeves has spoken about the moral questions that face one of the main characters, Caesar. He has hinted at the possibility of a new movie following Caesar’s personal journey and his battle against right and wrong.
Although that’s not the end of the possibilities, with the production team keen on perhaps going back in the story timeline to explore even more pressing moral issues. Do the apes have a greater sense of human decency than actual humans? That’s a question that could be posed by Reeves in future releases.
Fox are also said to be keen on extending the current trilogy following the commercial success of the latest release. Keeping Matt Reeves on board will be vital however to the success of any film that could follow.