For those of you who weren’t already aware, 20th Century Fox studio head Tom Rothman resigned this past week.  More on that later.  Tom isn’t the only one jumping ship though.  Director Rupert Wyatt is reportedly on the verge of or already has exited the production for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  The Rise sequel was recently given a May 23rd, 2014 release date.  Wyatt’s core reason for leaving supposedly has to do with a fear of being unable to make the film he wants within the currently allotted time frame.  It also doesn’t help that he has at least two smaller films practically ready-to-go (Child 13 and Londongrad) once he is free of the production.  There were some rumors months ago that Wyatt was only returning because he was contracted to do so and this certainly lends some credence to them.

Where does this leave Dawn?  Not in too much of a bind, fortunately.  The script should be fairly finalized at this stage and I’m sure pre-production will continue as Fox finds a suitable replacement.  Suitable being the keyword here.  The last thing this film needs is some bland journeyman half-assing their way through production.  Given that this is a tentpole for the studio, here’s hoping they pull out all stops to lock in a quality filmmaker to replace Wyatt.

Just because Tom Rothman is gone doesn’t mean that wrong-headed choices won’t continue.  Why?  Because he has merely been replaced by his protege, Jim Gianopulos, who has been running the studio side-by-side with Rothman since 2000.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  Still, this is a pretty big shake-up at the studio.  While Rothman’s departure was apparently expected due to his contract being up in a year, it’s always a bit jarring to see a studio head go before their time.  Disney and Universal have already had recent shake-ups of their own and there are even rumblings that Rothman might push for a position (presumably at the top) of the latter studio.  In addition to the this exit, Fox is taking this opportunity to completely split their television division from their film division into its own independent unit.  Gianopulos will oversee 20th Century Fox Film, Fox Searchlight, Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios, Fox International, and Fox Home Entertainment.  News Corp’s Chase Caery will preside over Fox Television and Fox 21.

I could spend paragraphs lambasting Tom Rothman’s reign at Fox, but he honestly wasn’t any more awful than most.  The man was merely been publicly called out on his stupidity more often than others over the past decade.  It would also be a mistake to paint his stint as a black mark on Hollywood.  For every widely-reported debacle, we were given something like Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World or the aforementioned Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  In Rothman’s absence, Fox will continue to churn out just as many modern classics and pieces of crap that they always have.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Source | Deadline