After Rupert Wyatt successfully rebooted the popular and groundbreaking science-fiction franchise with 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes — which earned $481M at the worldwide box office and was praised for its emotionally-engaging story and photo-realistic apes — 20th Century Fox wanted to strike while the iron was hot. So it quickly put a sequel into development. Wyatt wanted to direct it, but he didn't want to rush the process in order to hit a 2014 release date.
Fox then turned to Matt Reeves, who directed Cloverfield (and will helm Ben Affleck's The Batman), to take the reins. Any concerns about Reeves at the helm went away when Fox executives saw the his first cut of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes six months before its June 2014 release and immediately signed him up to tackle the third installment. The studios' confidence was rewarded as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes scored big with critics, who gave it a 90% fresh rating, as well as audiences, who came out in droves to see it, propelling its global take to $710.6M.
Rather than rushing the follow-up, Fox actually gave Reeves and screenwriter Mark Bomback plenty of time to make War for the Planet of the Apes the best possible movie that they could. During that time, Reeves and Bomback watched a lot of classic films for inspiration.
"We watched Bridge on the River Kwai," Reeves told EW. "We watched The Great Escape. We watched Biblical epics, because I really felt like this movie had to have a Biblical aspect to it. We watched Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments. We didn't go, like, 'Let's take a little bit of this, a little bit of that.' When you surround yourself with something that feels emotionally right, there are connections that make sense to you that somebody else might not see…[the films] informed the vibe we felt about this thing."
Check out a new still of Woody Harrelson's Colonel in our gallery below!
Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.
The cast features Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller, Karin Konoval, Judy Greer, and Terry Notary.
It is being directed by Matt Reeves (The Batman), based on a script he co-wrote with Mark Bomback. It is produced by Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver .
MORE: New War For The Planet Of The Apes Poster Released / War For The Planet Of The Apes: Complete 20th Century Fox Showcase Recap / Three War For The Planet Of The Apes Scene Descriptions From Fox Showcase