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Planet of The Apes

    February 27, 2025


   Sturges-Young Center for the Arts

   Main Stage/Theatre


Additional Information

Planet of the Apes is an American science fiction media franchise consisting of films, books, television series, comics, and other media about a post-apocalyptic world in which humans and intelligent apes clash for control.[1] The franchise started with French author Pierre Boulle‘s 1963 novel La Planète des singes, translated into English as Planet of the Apes or Monkey Planet. Its 1968 film adaptation, Planet of the Apes, was a critical and commercial hit, initiating a series of sequels, tie-ins, and derivative works. Arthur P. Jacobs produced the first five Apes films through APJAC Productions for distributor 20th Century Fox; following his death in 1973, Fox controlled the franchise.

Four sequels followed the original film from 1970 to 1973: Beneath the Planet of the ApesEscape from the Planet of the ApesConquest of the Planet of the Apes, and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. They did not approach the critical acclaim of the original, but were commercially successful, spawning a live-action television series in 1974 and an animated series in 1975. Plans for a film remake stalled in “development hell” for over 10 years before the 2001 release of Planet of the Apes, directed by Tim Burton. A reboot film series commenced in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was followed by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014 and War for the Planet of the Apes in 2017. In 2019, Disney, having acquired 20th Century Fox, announced further sequels to the 2011 reboot series are in production, with Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes released in 2024. Franchise tie-ins include books, comics, video games and toys.

The series began with French author Pierre Boulle‘s 1963 novel La Planète des singes. Boulle wrote the novel in six months after the “humanlike expressions” of gorillas at the zoo inspired him to contemplate the relationship between man and ape. La Planète des singes was heavily influenced by 18th- and 19th-century fantastical travel narratives, especially Jonathan Swift‘s satirical Gulliver’s Travels. It is one of several of Boulle’s works to use science fiction tropes and plot devices to comment on the failings of human nature and mankind’s overreliance on technology, though Boulle rejected the science fiction label, instead terming his genre “social fantasy”.[3]

The novel is a satire that follows French journalist Ulysse Mérou, who participates in a voyage to a distant planet where speechless, animalistic humans are hunted and enslaved by an advanced society of apes. The ape species are sorted into classes: the gorillas are police officers, the chimpanzees are scientists, and the orangutans are politicians. Eventually, Mérou discovers that humans once dominated the planet until their complacency allowed the more industrious apes to overthrow them. The story’s central message is that human intelligence is not a fixed quality and could atrophy if taken for granted.[3][4] Boulle considered the novel one of his minor works, though it proved to be a bestseller. British author Xan Fielding translated it into English; it was published in the United Kingdom as Monkey Planet and in the United States as Planet of the Apes.[5]

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