It’s easy to not be aware of the fact, or to forget there were actually five Planet of the Apes movies back in the day, because the follow ups mostly weren’t that great, and the original 1967 Apes movie was an absolute classic.
The Apes movies were one of the first exercises in sequel mania, and the first sequel was Beneath the Planet of the Apes in 1970, which was actually pretty good and had an even darker ending than the original, followed by Escape From the Planet of the Apes (1971), Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972), and Battle For the Planet of the Apes (1973).
Fox even put all five Apes movies together for a ten hour marathon in 1973, with an ape pointing at you like Uncle Sam in the poster, commanding: "20th Century Fox Wants YOU To Go Ape!"
These days, it’s tough for me to sit through a double bill, let alone five movies in a row, but the five Apes movies are coming back for a special event this summer. Sorry, it won’t be touring the country, at least not yet, but if you’re an Apes fan, you’ll spring for airfare.
It’s called the Day of the Apes marathon, at the Alamo Drafthouse in Texas. They’re billing it "over 8 armageddonlicious hours of blazing gorilla warfare," and all five movies together will be about 500 minutes of pure Apes delight. The marathon’s taking place on May 29, and you can buy your tickets online.
A similar event is also taking place in Los Angeles on with all five Apes flicks playing at the legendary Egyptian Theater in Hollywood on February 18, with stars Linda Harrison (who played Nova), Eric Braeden, Don Murry, H.M. Wynant, and Austin Stoker (who also starred in John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13), all appearing and doing an audience Q&A.
According to the American Cinemathaque website, the first Apes will be shown on 35mm, and the rest will be screened on Blu-ray, which is where a lot of screenings will be headed in the future with the demise of film.
This is definitely a major commitment, even to watch ‘em all back to back at home, although there’s always going tp be somebody dedicated enough to see ‘em all back to back, just like the Star Wars series, and Lord of the Rings. (In fact, at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, they showed all three Lord of the Rings movies in a row, which went over ten hours).
Now with Rise of the Planet of the Apes reinventing the series, and more Apes movies to come because of it, the future marathons will get even longer, although you can use Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes as a nap break. Here’s hoping these events will in fact inspire more Apes marathons in the future, which should be great fun whether you drop in for a movie or two, or stick around for the whole Apes celebration.