Fox Studios becomes Disney Studios, welcomes next ‘Planet of the Apes’ film

'Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes' film in Sydney.

Fox Studios has begun a new era as Disney Studios Australia with the production of the next Planet of the Apes film, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.

Attending the dual announcement at the Moore Park facility on Monday morning were Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke and NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin, as well as representatives from 20th Century Studios and The Walt Disney Company in Australia & New Zealand.

Helmed by Maze Runner director Wes Ball, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes will receive $17 million in support from the Federal Government via the Location Incentive, as well as funding through Screen NSW’s Made In NSW fund.

Production is already underway on the project, which picks up many years after the conclusion of 2017’s War for the Planet of the Apes and focuses on an entirely new group of characters who navigate a radically changed environment and the emotional and moral questions that come with it. Leading the cast are Owen Teague, Freya Allan, Peter Macon, Eka Darville, and Kevin Durand.

The screenplay was written by Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver, while Patrick Aison, Joe Hartwick Jr, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Jason Reed are the film’s producers, with Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping executive producing.

Based on a novel by Pierre Boulle, the first Planet of the Apes film was released by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1968 and went on to win a special Academy Award and spurn four theatrical sequels and two television series.

Producer Jason Reed at Disney Studios Australia on Monday.

This will be the fourth film in the rebooted franchise, which began with 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

Reed, who was joined at Monday’s announcement by unit production manager Jennifer Cornwell, said NSW had demonstrated its ability to house a “big scale, large technically complex movie” like the latest instalment.

“The collaboration between Hollywood and the Australian community has been amazing,” he said.

“I think it has benefitted all of us ,as we’ve learned from each other and brought new technologies and new ways of thinking to the projects we have worked on together.”

This production is expected to inject more than $128 million into the Australian economy, utilising the services of more than 1,000 local businesses.

Burke said the film was a reminder that “big international stories” helped to provide the “impetus, training, and continuity of work that increases the size of the creative sector here in Australia.”

“With Planet of the Apes, we know from a couple of movies ago, in the final scene, there is a turning point for the apes when Caesar learns to say the word ‘no’.”

“Today, Australia, Disney and the NSW government are saying yes — yes to 400 jobs, yes to $17 million in the tax offset, which then means yes to $128 million into the local economy.”

Franklin described Planet of the Apes as one of the “most inconic and storied science fiction franchises in history”.

“We know the value of NSW as a filming destination and its no secret that filmmakers around the world are clamouring to get here.

“This film also represents a unique opportunity to showcase Sydney’s landscape and film studio facilities to international audiences and crews, and provide valuable training opportunities for the screen sector with a focus on building capacity in the local sector.”

The production not only signals a new chapter for the franchise but also Fox Studios, which undergoes a title change for the first time since it opened in 1998.

It comes after Disney acquired the facility, which comprises nine sound stages and houses more than 50 supporting businesses, along with the majority of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets in 2019.

Senior vice president and managing director of The Walt Disney Company in Australia and New Zealand, Kylie Watson-Wheeler, said the renaming recognised “the important place these studios have as part of Walt Disney Studios and the Walt Disney company’s significant footprint here in Australia”.

“These studios are an important part of Australia’s creative infrastructure as well as Walt Disney company’s presence here in Australia,” she said.

“Our studios put Australia on the world stage of filmmaking from blockbusters including The Matrix and Moulin Rouge to Marvel’s Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings and Thor: Love and Thunder.

“These facilities are well utilised by many production companies and studios and we’re pleased this activity will continue.”

Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is expected to be released in 2024.