UNSPOOLED: ‘Planet of the Apes’ Rule

Remember “Gorilla World,” the would-be UPN series conceived by “Spawn” architect Todd McFarlane? The one that sounded suspiciously like a certain film predecessor called “Planets of the Apes”?

Well, apparently the folks at 20th Century Fox (the studio that owns the right to the “Apes” franchise) also noticed the marked similarity between the two projects. And they are not buying any of that homage crap.

Today’s Daily Variety says UPN has scrapped the project after Fox’s legal wing fired off a letter. For its part, UPN insists that the series’ cancellation had nothing whatsoever to do with Fox’s legal meddling.

McFarlane, on the other hand, is not as silent in the matter. In a “they-should-talk” rebuttal to the trade paper, McFarlane cited Fox’s television division’s “Millionaire” rip-off “Greed” as an example of rampant plagiarism within the studio itself.

“It’s always amazing when the thieves call the other thieves thieves,” McFarlane said in Variety. “There are no big original ideas.”

Even with the demise of “Gorilla World,” fans awaiting an “Apes” renaissance need not to worry. Gothic director Tim Burton reportedly is on tap to do that long-planned remake of the original “Planets of the Apes” — a project to be put out by Fox, no less.

LOOSE ENDS: “Instinct” finally won something! Yes, the bomb of a gorilla flick with Sir Anthony Hopkins was among the winners at the 14th Annual Genesis Awards, honoring film, TV and publishing works that promote animal-related causes. …

… The The World Wrestling Federation is withdrawing its promotional endorsement for the upcoming pro-wrestling doc “Beyond the Mat,” USA Today says. …

… Get ready, get set: The sequel to last year’s surprise animated hit Pokemon, “Pokemon the Movie 2000,” will open July 21, Warner Bros. says. The flick will feature six new Pokemon creatures, adding to the already indistinguishable 151. …

… The British Academy Film Awards today issued nominations for its version of the Academy Awards. And just like here in the States, “American Beauty” is the top dog, with a field-best 14 mentions, including a best actress nod for Annette Bening and a best actor one for Kevin Spacey. Neil Jordan‘s “The End of the Affair” was the next best with 10 nods, followed by “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” which picked up seven. …

… Final ballots for this year’s Oscars (U.S. division) were to be mailed today to the voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. For the votes to count, completed ballots must be returned to the offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers by 5 p.m. PST on March 21.

IMAX ROCK: IMAX Corp., the super-size film exhibitor, said Tuesday that it will begin production on a rock concert flick called “All Access.”

Documenting live performances by old-school musicians and current chart-toppers Carlos Santana, blues man B.B. King, Philadelphia hip-hop group The Roots, Kid Rock and Macy Gray, the concert film is set to bow in more than 100 IMAX outlets around the time of the 2001 Grammys.