With the release of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, chimps aren’t just in the theaters, they’re in the theaters. Myrtle Beach Safari Park in South Carolina made a visit to their local cinema with two chimpanzees in tow for a screening of the new film in the rebooted blockbuster franchise.
After “buying” their tickets and snacks, the two-year-old chimps, Sugrive and Vali, sat among other moviegoers like it was nobody’s monkey business. Although it’s unclear whether the apes’ presence was a PR stunt, an experiment in animal behavior, or just a night at the movies, this author is curious whether the two primates identified with their photo-realistic onscreen counterparts, thanks to the movie magic of motion capture.
Instead, the apes reacted to the film very much like their human cousins would to any movie: clapping for the happy moments and turning away from the scary ones, all while grabbing the occasional handful of popcorn. Check out the video below for their reactions.
Fearing the film might be a little too educational, some concerned audience members asked the Safari’s director whether the chimps’ attendance is appropriate, assuming a bad case of ‘monkey see, monkey do’ might teach them how to overthrow the human race. Kill us with cuteness, maybe, but anything beyond that is unlikely. Then again, maybe this is how it starts. First they’re in your zoos, then they’re sitting next to you at the theater, munching on popcorn. ~Daniel Horowitz