In a stunning gag that 20th Century Studios head Steve Asbell rightly predicts “will open up an entirely new front on the CGI vs. practical effects twitter debate,” the studio set loose real-life ape costumers atop equally real horses on California’s famous Venice Beach on Tuesday. 

These weren’t just dudes in monkey suits: The costumes were perfect replicas of the figures seen in the forthcoming film, and Matt Reeves‘ Caesar trilogy before them — though those used visual effects to bring them to life.

Videos shot by passersby of the promotional stunt quickly made it online and were reposted by Absell.

The footage shows not just the commitment made by makeup and costuming professionals in bringing the apes from the movies to reality, but by the actors inhabiting the characters: they look deadly serious as they patrol their stunned human subjects. 

Set generations after Reeves’ blockbuster trilogy, Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes takes place in a time when “apes are the dominant species living harmoniously and humans have been reduced to living in the shadows,” according to the studio. 

The movie opens in theaters May 10.

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