20th Century Fox is so confident in director Matt Reeves' work on 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' that they've just signed the helmer for a follow-up, with writers already being wrangled to write the third prequel to the beloved original 'Planet of the Apes' series.

Deadline first broke the news of Reeves, who is also set to write this third 'Planet of the Apes' with Mark Bomback, one of the scribes on the 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.' According to the report, Fox started pursuing Reeves for the follow-up after he screened his cut of the film. That's the most encouraging aspect of this story, as getting sequels ready is part and parcel for blockbuster cinema.

To wit, Lionsgate was prepping 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay' while they were working on 'Catching Fire,' and Sony has already announced that 'The Amazing Spider-Man 4' will be released in 2018. The general downside to this sort of early sequel planning, however, is that sometimes the first (or even second) films don't spawn franchises. For example, Universal has had people working on a 'Snow White and the Huntsman' sequel or spinoff that's gone nowhere, while DreamWorks had John Gatins working on a sequel to 'Real Steel' until the film underperformed. But if it does work, the general consensus is that a sequel is expected every two-to-four years. But that schedule may be getting compressed as 'The Hunger Games' released its follow-up a mere 20 months after the original, and it did more business than the first film both domestically and worldwide, on top of being the highest grossing film of 2013. As such, we may see studios try to move even faster on hot properties.

As for the 'Planet of the Apes' prequel series, the insurance of a third film seems locked, as the first, 'Rise,' earned $176MM domestically and the sequel is looking to do just as well. 'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' will hit theaters on July 11 with a cast that includes Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Andy Serkis as the genetically enhanced ape Caesar and Judy Greer as Caesar's ape love interest.

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