A Glimpse Into Franchise Power Of The Planet Of The Apes


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The Magic Of Franchise Film Hits

Many franchises from the past have recently returned to the big screen. Why? Because movie studios know they typically all but guarantee box office success. But not always, such as seen in in our post The Mummy: When A Franchise Launch Fails And The Future Of The Dark Universe.  

So the question is - can second, third or even fourth (or more) attempts revitalize the essence and most importantly success of the original?  The Planet of the Apes is one of the oldest film franchises in the world and yet it continues to find life - with a humongous established fan base in place. In this blog, Hollywood Branded discusses the most recent incarnation of The Planet of the Apes franchise and the history of it's success. 

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The Development Of A Franchise

Pierre Boulle’s original French book Les Planete Des Signes was originally adapted for the big screen in 1968. The original film adaptation of Planet of the Apes starred Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell and Kim Hunter, and would go on to produce numerous sequels, completing the original saga in 5 films. The franchise would then be brought to television audiences in the form of the 1973 live-action television series and the 1978 animated series.

After 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes, there had been plans to bring the franchise back to the big screen.  However there were difficulties in getting a rebooted Apes film into production, and the franchise would wait 28 years before returning to the big screen.

That new version of Planet of the Apes was released in 2001 and was directed by Tim Burton and featured Mark Wahlberg, Tim Roth, Helena Bonham Carter and Michael Clarke Duncan. While the film was panned by critics it was financially successful - but ultimately was not successful enough for Fox to consider a sequel.

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The series was then rebooted again with the latest iteration of the series which was led by 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The idea for this version of the franchise was conceived in 2005 by screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver who envisioned a story about a chimpanzee raised by humans. This was a re-imagining of Caesar, the main character of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. The film struggled to get off the ground at the beginning but was eventually led by producers Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark. The film stars James Franco as a biologist who is searching for a cure to Alzheimer's disease which he tests on chimps and motion capture expert Andy Serkis as Caesar the main chimpanzee of the series.

The second film in the latest series, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, released in 2014, was set roughly 10 years later and saw Serkis’s Caesar try to maintain dominance over his group when challenged by the more brutal Kona while the human struggle to stay alive due to the threat pf the simian virus. The latest film in the series, War for the Planet of the Apes was released this year and looks set to continue the series’ success. The film yet again follows Serkis’s Caesar this time with a more direct confrontation between the apes and humans, who are now greatly outnumbered, over who should control the earth.

Box Office of The Apes

Planet of the Apes has had general success with both audiences and critics. The original film earned $32 million at the domestic box office, and was the highest grossing of the 1960s/1970s series. The next four films would fail to reach that amount, though they still did relatively well. The next film, released in 2001, brought the franchise back into the minds of audiences. It grossed 362 million worldwide and managed to reach number 10 on the list of the highest grossing films for 2001 domestically and number 9 internationally.

The relaunched film, Rise from 2011 reached number 11 domestically and number 14 internationally, slightly dropping in popularity.  It did however reach $481 million worldwide. 2014’s Dawn climbed up the box office chart slightly at number 8 worldwide and number 11 domestically, earning $710 million worldwide. With the latest film Rise having only been released recently it’s hard to say how it will do against this year’s film titles, though it has already grossed over $240 million, a little behind the previous film though it still has some time to go.

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The recent series has had plenty of success with critics too with Tara Brady of The Irish Times noting how “With three perfectly formed adventures now coalescing into a pleasingly shaped trilogy, the contemporary Apes sequence has delivered more consistently than any other Hollywood franchise. “

Product Placement of the Apes

A world that drifts away from humanity would be the last place that one would expect to find product placement, however the films have presented the perfect opportunity for some brands. That being said, the theme does make it difficult to place brands in the Planet of the Apes films.

However, Apple was featured heavily in Rise of the Planet of the Apes with Macbooks and iMacs being seen throughout the film in lab scenes. Other brands which managed to make an appearance in that film included the Ford Mustang, Samsung and Mirror Pond beer. 

The second film in the new series, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had an interesting partnership with Plaque Inc. an infection based strategy game which added apes to the app. Due to the film's plot of the fall of humanity there's not a lot of product placement in the film, although there is an appearance of a 76 gas station. The most recent film of the series, War for the Planet of the Apes also featured product placement in the form of a Coca-Cola truck, which also leads into the film’s core theme, with the Coca-Cola truck representing one of the last signs of humanity.

Get Your Brand Into The Movies

While Planet of the Apes may not be a great fit for many brands, there are many franchises that are. To learn more about film franchises and how they can work for your brand, check out our previous blog Why Cinematic Universe Storylines Are Increasingly Popular For Studios And Brands.

If you want to consider placing your brand in a film, check out our product placement and promotions 101 guide to find tricks and tip on how to make the best out of product placement.

Product Placement & Co-Promotions 101 Guide