Fox has had a lot of upheavals in the executive suite over the past week, but now we might have one in the creative department: Deadline reports that Rupert Wyatt is almost definitely leaving “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” the follow-up to the highly successful “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” Expect an announcement soon.
Word is that Wyatt felt he couldn’t do the kind of film he wanted to do and still make the May 23, 2014 release date. Rich Jaffa and Amanda Silver, who also wrote the first film, have turned in a script the studio likes and they feel they should be able to have it made for that date.
I know on the face of it that it looks like there should be plenty of time to make a movie between now and May 2014. It’s not as big a window of time as it looks, though. The script will still probably get some rewrites. There’s casting and location scouting to do, and wrangling over budgets. It’s hard to imagine that they’d even get started filming until April or May, which means it might wrap in July or August 2013. This would be, I assume, an effects heavy movie, so there’s going to be a long post-production period. There could be reshoots. So suddenly it’s early 2014, with May coming fast. So while it can be done, it’s not like it’s an unusually long period of time where you could make three blockbuster movies.
Of course the time period could be just an excuse for Wyatt to drop out of a film he might not want to make. After all, there were zero expectations for “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” so when it was a success he was the golden boy. It’s hard to take the world by surprise a second time. And it’s not like he’s wanting for work–he’s got “Agent 13″ with Charlize Theron set up and had to drop the spy movie “Londongrad” to be available for the “Apes” movie. If he’s out of the sequel, he could probably return to “Londongrad.” You could argue he has more to gain by stepping away than staying with the sequel…