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Official Site: 20th Century Fox
Planet of the Apes is a 1968 American science fiction film directed by Franklin J. Schaffner and based on the novel La planète des singes by Pierre Boulle, released in 1963. The film stars Charlton Heston and features Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly and Linda Harrison. It was released by 20th Century Fox.
The film tells the story of an astronaut crew who crash land on a strange planet in the distant future. Although the planet appears desolate at first, the surviving crew members stumble upon a society in which ape have evolved into creatures with human-like intelligence and speech. The apes have assumed the role of the dominant species and human have been subjugated into slavery.
The script was originally written by Rod Serling but had many rewrites before eventually being made. Changes included character names and a more primitive ape society, instead of the more expensive idea of having futuristic buildings and advanced technology. J. Lee Thompson and Blake Edwards were approached to direct the film but the film's producer Arthur P. Jacobs, upon the advice of Charlton Heston, chose Franklin J. Schaffner to direct the film. Filming took place between May-August 1967, mostly in California and Arizona however the opening scene was shot at Lake Powell, Utah. The film's budget was around $5,800,000.
Planet of the Apes was released on February 8, 1968 in the United States and was a commercial success, gaining $32,589,624 at the international box office. The film was ground-breaking for its prosthetic makeup techniques by artist John Chambers, and was well received by critics and audiences, launching a film franchise, including four sequels, as well as a short lived television show, animated series, comic books, various merchandising, and eventually a remake in 2001 and a new film to be released in 2011. Roddy McDowall, in particular, had a long-running relationship with the Apes series, appearing in the original series of five films (one only via stock footage from an earlier film), and also in the television series.
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