Planet of the Apes Reboot: Why No News is Good News

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Another week, still no Planet of the Apes news.

I’m going to go ahead and say that’s a good thing.

Am I the only one who’s getting fed up with the remakes. Constant remakes and adaptations. Of anything that’s out there, familiar and available. Anything at all. And then remakes of the remakes. Of remakes. One Hulk on top of another. A complete Spider-Man reboot. Remakes of ’80s movies, ’80s television shows…’80s board games. Ugh.

And now, news of a likely Planet of the Apes reboot. Or rather prequel. Yes, prequel. That makes all the difference.

The stakes have gotten so big in Hollywood, in terms of marketing costs and breakeven profits, that franchises now are considered the only safe bets. The only things that are guaranteed to put a certain number of butts in the seats – even though I would contend that a poorly-executed franchise or reboot will die faster than an original story, since expectations are higher. In the case of a reboot, the whole target market shows up opening weekend. Bad word of mouth kills it on the spot. (More at Techland: Sci-Fi Sexy Time – The All-Time Hottest Hookups)

But then again, by that point, the studios have already suckered the first round of people into handing over money. All thanks to a familiar name.

I’m heartened to see that if it’s not the studio heads, then it’s the directors that are finally getting their act together. In the case of Planet of the Apes, rumors are that one director after another is turning the project down. They are thinking it through, realizing that they will merely be tinkering with a memorable classic, and deciding that this is not where their talents are best directed. It’s one thing to mold an origianl vision, but it’s something far different to retread the same tightrope, all the while forced to conform to a studio’s marketing plan. We’ve seen this most recently with Sam Raimi, and his rumored disagreements with the studio over the tone of Spider-Man 3. When franchises go wild, directors lose hold.

I’ve always thought it would take moviegoers to stop going to these sorts of retreads, for the studios to learn a lesson. But maybe the revolt will come from within the industry, from directors (even actors) who want to do something more interesting. Or original. Or unfettered. I guess all directors have to do right know is watch what Kathryn Bigelow and Robert Rodriguez go on to do next, free of the Planet of the Apes anchor. Whatever poor sap eventually makes this prequel, and lives to regret the “creative differences” with the studio, can just look at the next Bigelow project and think: That could have been me, doing what I really wanted to do instead.

What do you think: Is a Plant of the Apes prequel high on your must-see list?