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Disney’s Play for Fox Redemption

kingdom of the planet of the apes
More than anything, executives are likely relieved that Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes is the first franchise hit from 20th Century Studios in years. Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios
Scott Mendelson
May 14, 2024

On some level, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes may seem like conventional summer blockbuster fare. The well-reviewed, Wes Ball-directed sci-fi melodrama debuted with a solid $58 million in North America and $131 million worldwide. But in another way, Apes is indeed a rare animal—a theatrical success bred from Disney’s $71 billion acquisition of most of 21st Century Fox. 

Sure, the 2019 merger has created obvious and not insignificant commercial value for Disney’s streaming business, but it has largely failed to produce new hit movies. Aside from James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water and Free Guy, the surprisingly successful Ryan Reynolds joint, the various attempts at expanding, continuing, or re-adapting properties and I.P. within the Fox catalog have amounted to little in the way of fortune or glory.