EXCLUSIVE: Cloverfield helmer Matt Reeves has been set to direct Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, the 20th Century Fox sequel to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes. Reeves was atop the list to replace Rupert Wyatt, and the other names I’d heard were in contention were The Disappearance Of Alice Creed helmer J Blakeson, 28 Weeks Later helmer Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, Take Shelter director Jeff Nichols, Pacific Rim helmer Guillermo del Toro, The Impossible helmer Juan Antonio Bayona and Looper helmer Rian Johnson (though Johnson’s reps denied he is in the hunt).

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Fox production president Emma Watts was in a spot when Wyatt exited (which Deadline revealed September 17), but they’ve gotten a good director here in Reeves, who last helmed the remake Let Me In. Reeves was attached to helm The Twilight Zone movie at Warner Bros (I’m told he dropped out of that one), as well as This Dark Endeavor, with Mean Creek writer/helmer Jacob Aaron Estes writing the script for Summit Entertainment. He is also developing The Passage for Fox 2000, and Eight O’Clock In The Morning at Universal. The studio fully expects to stay on track and make the May 23, 2014 release date that Fox announced in May.

Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver already turned in a script that is much liked by the studio and the film’s producer, Chernin Entertainment. It’s a natural extension of the first film, which grossed $483 million worldwide and seamlessly set up the apocalyptic sequel plotline. CAA and 3 Arts rep Reeves.