Director Rupert Wyatt is Departing 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes'?
by Ethan Anderton
September 18, 2012
There was already a shake-up at 20th Century Fox last week with Tom Rothman exiting the studio (it's about time), but it looks like the issues over there aren't all cleared up just yet. Deadline has word that Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt is departing the sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the title which Fox announced for a May 23rd, 2014 release early this past summer. So what's going on? Apparently Wyatt is leaving the film for the same reason Gary Ross left the sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. He's not confident in delivering a quality film while similtaneously meeting the release date.
The studio hasn't confirmed this news, but the studio is said to be looking for a major director to replace Wyatt. Surely this is bad news for the fans who loved the original film because of what Wyatt did with the mythology and origins of the classic Planet of the Apes, but it's not uncommon for sequels to lose their predecessor's director anymore. Since Wyatt isn't exactly a household name, average filmgoers will likely still head out to see the sequel, and that will be enough for the studio who was already pleased with the $481 million box office performance worldwide.
In the end, a bigger name director might do the franchise some good, but that doesn't stop me from being disappointed that Wyatt is leaving because the studio doesn't have the balls to hold on to a film until it's absolutely ready to go with work from a director who wants to put the film's quality before a strategic release date. This is the sad side of the film industry, and I would've thought that Rothman's exit would mean some smarter decisions from Fox, but it sounds like they still have some problems in the executive offices. I just hope this doesn't mean the sequel, from Contagion writer Scott Z. Burns, is carelessly handled.