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09 Aug 2011

The British director of Rise of the Planet of Apes has high hopes for a sequel after the film debuted at number one at the North American box office.

The brand new story which reboots the franchise opened with estimated takings of $54m (£32.8m).

"The reaction has been so strong that we'll hopefully get to do it again," Rupert Wyatt said on Monday.

It is only the second feature film from the 38-year-old British director. His first was 2008 thriller The Escapist.

Wyatt told the BBC that the critical reaction to Rise of the Planet of the Apes had surpassed his expectations.

"For a Hollywood blockbuster it seems to have got such strong reviews. All of the critics that I read and respect have really gone for it. I'm speechless."

Under the headline "Chimpan-tastic!", Time Magazine's review said: "As both a simian simile and a wonder of technology, Rise of the Planet of the Apes deserves to be in the company of the great original Kong."
'Invisible' special effects

The film, set in present day San Francisco, includes among its human cast James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox and Tom Felton (who plays Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films).

The story is told largely from the point of view of a chimpanzee named Caesar, played by Andy Serkis.

Serkis appears as a photo-realistic chimp via "performance capture" technology as used in Avatar and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"The irony is that we were trying to make our special effects invisible," said Wyatt.

"One always assumes that the audience wants to see massive explosions or visual spectacle in an unsubtle way, but this is much more about using the special effects to create character and nuance."

Wyatt said he would be keen to direct an Apes sequel if he was asked.

"This is such a venerable franchise for the studio and they are incredibly protective of it. This is confirmation that we've been able to resuscitate a franchise and put it in a place where hopefully there will be many more.

"There's so much one can do with this and I've got plenty of ideas."

Elsewhere in the American box office chart, The Smurfs took $21m (£12.7m) to command second place.

Last week's number one, action thriller Cowboys and Aliens, slipped to third position, taking $15m (£9.1m).

Romantic comedy The Change Up was the second-highest new entry at number four with $13.5m (£8.2m).

The final instalment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, fell from fourth to sixth.

Romantic comedies Crazy, Stupid, Love and Friends with Benefits were in seventh and eighth place respectively.

Horrible Bosses, starring Jennifer Aniston, took the number nine spot in its fifth week on the chart.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon, in its sixth week of release, was at number 10.


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