A scale head of Godzilla is displayed on the balcony of the business complex as Tokyo’s new landmark during its unveiling at the Kabukicho shopping and entertainment district in Tokyo April 9, 2015.
Issei Kato | Reuters
The King of the Monsters still rules in Japan – and most other places.
Godzilla’s impact on fans and pop culture began 68 years ago, but the radioactive mega-lizard’s impact on global audiences is growing due to recent box office success and increasing access to streaming services.
To capitalize on this moment, Toho, the Japanese film studio that owns the monster and licenses it to Legendary in the US, said it will produce and release a new Godzilla film a year from Thursday, the anniversary of the monster’s first film .
The untitled film, which will be released first in Japan and later in the US and other markets, will be Toho’s first since 2016’s Shin Godzilla. Toho has released few details about the new film other than prolific filmmaker Takashi, who will direct the film.
“Godzilla’s rich history has shaped the world of pop culture and monster fandom for nearly 70 years,” said Lora Cohn, executive director of Toho International, the LA-based subsidiary of film, theater production and distribution company Toho.
Toho tweeted a teaser poster of the upcoming movie with its release date.
A teaser poster for the movie Godzilla, due for release on November 3, 2023.
The new movie comes as global audiences have more access to Godzilla content than ever before, thanks to extensive libraries of movies and TV series on streaming services. The recent box office success of US studio Legendary’s Monsterverse, which began with a 2014 Godzilla film and led to 2021’s Godzilla vs. Kong, also contributed to this.
The movies, especially the latest installment, are among the most requested on streaming services. From late March 2021 to October 2022, Godzilla vs. Kong is the third most popular film among US audiences across all platforms and genres, according to Spider-Man: No Way Home and The Batman, according to data provider Parrot Analytics. Globally, it is the fourth most requested.
“Because of streaming services and the internet, Godzilla is more accessible than ever before,” said Bill Tsutsui, a historian and academic known for his expertise in Godzilla. “Growing up, it was hard for me to meet other Godzilla fans. There was no forum or social media to rally around monsters.”
A still from Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
Source: Warner Bros.
One of the first films to hit theaters after the Covid shutdown, Godzilla vs. Kong was a box office hit, grossing more than $468 million worldwide. A sequel is in the works for 2024.
Godzilla has appeared on screen in various forms, first in Japan’s 1954 Gojira and then in later films produced in the monster’s homeland. The first Godzilla film shot entirely in the US came out in 1998 and whetted appetites for the monster’s films, but received poor reviews.
“When Legendary brought back Godzilla in 2014, I was like, ‘Oh cool, this thing I grew up with is finally being taken seriously by Hollywood. We all know the late ’90s Godzilla that’s aged like milk,” said Chris Anderson, 31, of Northern California, who has been a fan of Godzilla films since childhood. (The American “Godzilla” from 1998 by the team behind “Independence Day” became a punchline, especially in Japan. In Toho’s “Godzilla: Final Wars”, released in 2004, the Japanese Godzilla destroys the US version.)
Even Toho’s “Shin Godzilla” has staying power outside of Japan, hitting a peak in US demand between January 2021 and October 2022, according to Parrot Analytics. The film can only be rented or purchased on platforms such as Amazon Prime Video or Apple’s iTunes. In Japan, Shin Godzilla is also in high demand, and has surpassed Godzilla vs. Kong since early 2021, according to Parrot.
“For so many decades, the Japanese didn’t take much pride in creating this movie monster. It wasn’t as big of a deal in Japan as Godzilla was abroad. Recently, however, the Japanese, including Toho Studio, have realized what a huge property Godzilla is, and they’ve done a much better job of exploiting and marketing Godzilla and expanding that ownership,” Tsutsui said. The Japanese have a newfound sense of pride in the monster, and that’s an important addition here.”
Godzilla fan Anderson has liked all of the recent Legendary films, but is a huge fan of Toho’s 2016 Shin Godzilla. “I’m still waiting for a sequel to that,” Anderson said.
Streaming has also become a new medium for Godzilla to make a name for itself, with services like Pluto TV showing day-long stunts from Godzilla movies on its ad-supported channel Cult Films on November 3, and others with libraries of both Japanese and American films.
“There are so many new ways to enjoy Godzilla and be creative with the monster,” Tsutsui said.
In 2017, Toho Animation and Polygon created a Godzilla anime trilogy for Netflix, while Legendary Television is bringing a Godzilla series to Apple TV+, executive produced by Toho and set in the same universe as Legendary’s recent films.
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Source: Warner Bros. Studios
The series, which remains untitled, got star power this summer when father and son actors Kurt and Wyatt Russell joined the cast.
Meanwhile, on “Godzilla Day,” as November 3 is known to fans, Toho revealed that it is releasing “Godzilla Island,” a Japanese animated series that has never been available in the US, on its YouTube channel. The series, which consists of 256 episodes, each a few minutes long, aired on Japanese television in the late ’90s and will be available in mid-November.
Connecting audiences via social media is also paramount for Toho, which turned to influencers to showcase Godzilla in various forms.
Also on Thursday, influencer Vivian Xue Rahey, the founder of a nail salon that has run its business mostly online during the pandemic lockdown and ships press-on nails to customers with bespoke art, will unveil Godzilla-themed nail designs. Xue Rahey’s TikTok channel has 2.6 million followers.
“Toho came to me a while ago and wanted me to create something really epic,” said Xue Rahey, emphasizing that special effects should be shown, particularly the heat ray that Godzilla is known for.
While Xue Rahey and her company have received requests for Godzilla nail art before, this time she used special effects on the nail sets themselves, such as: B. thermal color changes. On Thursday there will be a contest where you can win a free set of Godzilla nails.
Toho films will also hit theaters on Thursday for special showcases.
Fathom Events, in partnership with Toho, will bring Toho’s 2002 Japanese film, Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla, to US theaters for the first time ever. In addition, indie cinema chain Alamo is showing the original film, known in Japan as “Gojira,” in 4K high definition in all markets Thursday through November 6th.
Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that director Takashi Yamazaki was not working on visual effects for Shin Godzilla.