Across the board, studios are firing out sequels to their successful installments at rapid rates. Focused on keeping the fans entertained and raking in the cash, these studios are not giving their directors, the same men and women who made the first film successful to begin with, enough time to work.
This year alone we’ve seen this situation play out as Gary Ross stepped down from Catching Fire due to the film’s Fall 2013 release date. And only a week ago Rupert Wyatt made the decision to leave his directing duties for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes after 20th Century Fox refused to push back their May 2014 release date.
‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ Director Shortlist
Fox’s production president, Emma Watts, is now on the hunt for a new director and has created a list of names to fill Wyatt’s vacant director’s chair. Cloverfield director Matt Reeves tops the list. Remember, that whoever Fox decides to hire, they’ll give that “emerging director” creative control over the next installment. Let’s also remember that Reeves’ name was attached to The Twilight Zone, but he left the project just several days ago. Perhaps Fox has already made their decision. But let’s look at the other contenders.
The short turnaround provides just the right amount of leverage Fox needs to hire a new director. Most of the directors on their shortlist have projects which are either stalling or have been in “preproduction” for months. The short schedule will be just the right amount of time for a director waiting for that next project to catch fire. This is the case for 28 Weeks Later director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, whose name sits right below Reeves’. His reboot of the Highlander franchise, which has Ryan Reynolds attached to star, has yet to confirm a release date or a production schedule.
Other names include Looper directer Rian Johnson, who already said, “No.” Johnson’s reps informed Deadline that he has no interest in directing the project. And then there’s Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro, whose already filled to the brim with projects. The man is in post-production for Pacific Rim, in pre-production for Pinocchio, for which he is the film’s director, writer, and producer. He’s also the screenwriter for The Hobbit: There and Back again and The Incredible Hulk TV series. Did I forget anything? Oh, he’ll also produce Kung-Fu Panda 3 and direct Hellboy 3.
It’s a shame Wyatt had to leave this franchise. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was 2011′s dark horse. No one expected the film to gross $481 million at the box office. Plus, Andy Serkis’ performance as Caesar was simply brilliant. Hopefully, this doesn’t come back to bite Fox in the ass.