Burton Scrambles to Finish Apes

Summer would-be blockbuster Planet of the Apes is due to open July 27, but the film isn't even finished yet, reports Inside.com.

Tim Burton's lavish "reimagining" of the 1968 sci-fi cult classic is undergoing major 11th-hour fixes, reports the industry site, including reshoots, re-edits, CGI work, and even music tweaks.

"We were in the lab all weekend long," 20th Century Fox Vice Chairman Bob Harper told Inside.com, "We've never done a film on this tight a schedule." Even folks on the Fox lot haven't seen the film, say sources close to the studio.

The studio has already postponed several exhibitor screenings and is holding the press junket at the last possible moment.

Harper told the site that the primary last-minute work is on post-production special effects, but other sources say that as recently as two weeks ago, live-action scenes were being reshot, including the film's opening rocket-crash sequence.

Burton's composer of choice, Danny Elfman, has also reportedly been asked by studio execs to make the film's music "more heroic." One source tells Inside.com, "They wanted to be able to sell the film as a sci-fi Gladiator."

At this late point, surely, the film, which stars Mark Wahlberg, is already sold to the public — it's one of the most anticipated releases of the year.

According to pre-release market research surveys, two key factors, "awareness" and "definite interest," especially among young men, are sky-high, reports Inside.com. Says one rival studio executive, "It's not like it's not going to do a lot of business."

Fox faced a similar scenario with the untried sci-fi franchise X-Men about this same time last year, as director Bryan Singer rushed to complete the superhero adventure. While naysayers predicted that the studio had a turkey on its hands, X-Men opened with $54.47 million and set a record for July openings. The film was warmly embraced by critics and filmgoers, and a sequel was immediately green-lit.