Rise of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: First Class Sequels Get Release Dates; Thor 2 Moves Back a Week
06.01.12 by Ryan
Twentieth Century Fox likely surprised itself last summer by creating not one but two prequel franchises. Considering the popularity of the X-Men franchise, the studio probably expected that X-Men: First Class would perform well enough to illicit a sequel (the studio backed a pretty extensive marketing campaign in hopes). However, the studio probably didn't expect Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Planet of the Apes to earn $481 million worldwide. Unsurprisingly, Fox CEO Tom Rothman announced sequels last November and the studio is pressing forward, scheduling both sequels for summer 2014.
There's still little known about the Rise sequel, other than it will continue seeing humanity fall as the apes, well, rise. Director Rupert Wyatt, who is returning, said last December that the sequel will show "why humanity is going to be vulnerable enough for this ever growing army of intelligent apes and their offspring to be able to take us on." According to Box Office Mojo, the sequel will be titled Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (don't worry, we're pretty sure it won't feature zombie-apes) and will open on May 23, 2014.
Rise screenwriters and co-producers Amanda Silver and Rick Jaffa have already had a turn on the sequel script, though Contagion screenwriter Scott Z. Burns was recently hired to work on the script — Burns' credentials alone hint that the global virus teased at the end credits of Rise will take precedence in the sequel. Actor Andy Serkis, who played main primate Caesar in motion capture, is already set to reprise his role.
Meanwhile, the X-Men: First Class sequel, still lacking a title, is scheduled for release on July 18, 2014. Matthew Vaughn will return to direct the sequel, which is set to shoot early next year, with James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence reprising their roles, though it's likely that more cast members will return as well.
Apparently, the sequel is still in script stage, with Fassbender telling Digital Spy UK that he has already met with First Class producer and sequel screenwriter Simon Kinberg to discuss ideas.
I’m very excited about [revisiting the world of Magneto]. I've sat down with Simon Kinberg and he was telling me what ideas he had, and I was chipping in, putting my hour's worth in there. Yeah I'm very excited — some really cool ideas [there].
Kinberg was hired to write the sequel last November, and confirmed the hire in February, much to the chagrin of fanboys everywhere since Kinberg was also responsible for writing the 2006 sequel X-Men: The Last Stand. While it seems inevitable that Vaughn will bring in his frequent collaborator Jane Goldman for rewrites, Kinberg is currently in charge for the time being.
In related comic book sequel news, Disney has also made a small scheduling move for its upcoming Thor 2, bumping up its release a week from November 15, 2013 to November 8. The move gives the sequel two full weekends of possible box office dominance before The Hunger Games: Catching Fire opens on November 22nd.
Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor will take over the director's chair from Kenneth Branagh for the sequel, which Marvel president Kevin Feige recently said would explore "the other side of Asgard" that wasn't "all polished and golden." This seems to suit lead actor Chris Hemsworth just fine, as he recently told The LA Times that he would like Thor 2 to have a "really organic reality."
Yeah, yeah, actually my wife got me into Game of Thrones, and we started sort of on the Internet watching them every week and became obsessed with them. And then I was given the whole series because Alan was meeting to do Thor 2. What I loved is [that the show] had a sort of mythical element to it, yet it was grounded in a really organic reality. And that’s what I think would be nice about Thor 2? — if there were more sort of tangible environments to be involved in. The first Thor was sort of science-fiction, and there were a lot of sets and things. It would be nice to kind of have Asgard as somewhat relatable and have big waterfalls and cliffs and mountains, and then have in the distance maybe several moons or suns or some sort of science-fiction element. But I think as an audience, it’s much easier to be drawn in if it’s something you feel a part of.
Production on Thor 2 is set to start later this summer, with a script supplied by Thor screenwriter Don Payne and Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan). Natalie Portman will be back as Jane Foster, and Tom Hiddleston will return as Loki. Jamie Alexander and Idris Elba are also set to return as Asgardians Sif and Heimdall, respectively. Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, The Three Musketeers) was recently cast as the movie's undisclosed villain.