Kingdom Of The Planet Of The Apes' Running Time Sets A Record For The Franchise

Technically speaking, the Year of the Monkey is still four years away, but 2024 apparently failed to get the memo. "Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire" got the party started by beating all early estimates and overperforming at the box office. Meanwhile, actor/director Dev Patel is doing everything in his power to turn himself into our next action star with the upcoming "Monkey Man," which is similarly poised to provide a much-needed boost among moviegoers for original movies. But as exciting as these offerings are, both of them might as well be the hors d'oeuvres and appetizers preceding the main course: "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes."

The longstanding sci-fi franchise continues to prove the wisdom of its central "Apes together strong" maxim, reignited by the recent trilogy of acclaimed movies begun by 2011's prequel/reboot "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." After Matt Reeves took over the following two sequels and delivered some of the greatest genre entries of the last decade (even if we maintain that the titles "Dawn" and "War" should've probably been swapped, given the subject matter of each respective movie, but we digress), fans held their collective breath for any word on possible follow-ups — ideally a continuation of the same story, rather than yet another reboot. Those prayers were answered with director Wes Ball's new sequel, set hundreds of years after the events of Caesar's revolution.

Most exciting of all, however, "Kingdom" now stands to break a franchise record with its runtime, officially revealed now that tickets have gone on sale. According to online listings provided by AMC (via Collider), the latest film clocks in at 145 minutes. That means audiences are about to get more "Planet of the Apes" action than they've ever seen before.

Monkey business

For once, inflation kind of feels like a good thing. Call it the "Oppenheimer" Effect or the continuation of a trend most recently proven by the success of "Dune: Part Two," but mega-sized blockbusters sure feel like they're delivering more bang for the buck these days. Audiences have continually shown how willing they are to sit through runtimes approaching three butt-numbing hours ... provided the story justifies its length, of course. (Respectfully, size does matter sometimes.)

"Planet of the Apes" in particular feels like a fascinating case study in how the same franchise can reflect moviemaking tendencies from different eras over the course of several decades. The originals stand in stark contrast to the more modern sequels, with the 1968 classic featuring a relatively brisk 112-minute runtime — by far the longest of the initial five movies. The award for shortest, meanwhile, goes to "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes" and its meager 88 minutes. Compare that to the new trilogy — if it feels like we're ignoring Tim Burton's disastrous 2001 movie, that's because we absolutely are and you should, too — and it's apparent which direction Hollywood has been heading towards. "Rise" may have only delivered 105 minutes of James Franco indirectly causing the end of the world as we know it, but both "Dawn" (131 minutes) and "War" (140 minutes) took much more epic-sized approaches to completing Caesar's mythological arc.

We now know that "Kingdom" keeps that trend going and, honestly, we're here for it. The more monkey business, the better. The newest film swings into theaters May 10, 2024.