Toho Confirms the First Japanese ‘Godzilla’ Movie in Over a Decade
For the better part of 50 years, the Japanese movie studio Toho released new ‘Godzilla’ movies like clockwork. With the exception of a few lengthy breaks (including much of the ‘80s), a new film starring the King of the Monsters would arrive every two years at the minimum. Not even the deplorable 1998 American film could slow ‘em down. And then ‘Godzilla: Final Wars’ arrived in 2004 and the title proved accurate: Japan has not made a new Godzilla film since. Well, that’s about to change. For the first time in a decade, Toho is moving forward with a new film starring the city-wrecking, fire-breathing monster icon.
Details are scarce at the moment. There is no director, no script and no cast. There is only intent. Spurred on by the massive critical and commercial success of Gareth Edwards’ new ‘Godzilla,’ Toho has decided to strike while the iron is hot. An unnamed Toho staffer spoke with The Hollywood Reporter, saying:
This is very good timing after the success of the American version this year: if not now, then when? The licensing contract we have with Legendary places no restrictions on us making domestic versions.
Right now, the studio is eyeing a 2015 start date for the film (the 29th film in the series, if you‘re counting), which will presumably mean a 2016 release date. According to the THR article, Toho is very open about not being able to match the grandiosity of a $200 million Hollywood version, but they feel confident that they can “stand alongside such productions” thanks to “advances in CGI.” Godzilla purists have every right to frown at that statement. Could this be the first Toho Godzilla film to feature a CGI version of the title character? After all, the monsters in these movies have been brought to life by men in big rubber costumes for half a century. It’s a tradition! It’s its own acting style! It’s what separates Japan’s movies from the American ones!
Of course, the statement could mean that CGI could help better integrate a monster-suited performer into a more realistic world. We hope. So much of the charm of Japanese ‘Godzilla’ movies is their old school approach to monster mayhem.
Oh, and Toho is assembling the awesomely-named Godzilla Strategic Conference (AKA, Godzi-Con) to work alongside the new movie. Unfortunately, their actual job is rather mundane and involves creating marketing and merchandising opportunities for any new movies. But man-oh-man, wouldn’t it be amazing to say you’re a member of the Godzilla Strategic Conference?
Meanwhile, the sequel to Gareth Edwards’ film is scheduled to arrive in 2018. This really is a good time to be a ‘Godzilla’ fan.