Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a darkly thrilling second episode of version 3.0 of the Planet of the Apes saga, a brooding tale about a desperate band of humans who survived a catastrophic plague. They live near a band of wary forest apes who just want to be left alone but are skilled with weapons and are harboring a bad-tempered would-be leader who is itching to start a war. Thanks to excellent special effects, a suspenseful storyline and bold, frightening action scenes, a 46-year-old series is now as fresh as if it had been dreamed up yesterday.

Here’s what some of the less successful blockbuster franchises that have overstayed their welcome could learn by waking up to Dawn.