Japan's Toho to Produce New 'Godzilla' for 2016, First in 12 Years

Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964)
© 1964 Toho Co., Ltd.??All Rights Reserved.

Over the years, Godzilla racked up a rogue's gallery of animalistic "kaiju" worthy of the most famed superheroes (in fact, the King of Monsters eventually faced off against Batman in the comic books). Pre-dating Marvel Studios' renowned universe cross-overs, the likes King Ghidorah, Baragon, Rodan, Ebirah, and Mothra appeared in standalone and Godzilla vs. titles. Mothra debuted in a self-titled 1961 film that adapted the basic Toho framework. The pitch: "Godzilla... with wings!"

The announcement follows the success of this year's reboot from Legendary Pictures

Japan's Toho is to produce its first Godzilla film since 2004, following the success of this year's release from Legendary Pictures, the studio behind the original monster announced Monday.

"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," a Toho staffer told The Hollywood Reporter.

The Gareth Edwards-directed Legendary version took more than $500 million globally and topped the Japanese box office on its opening weekend.

Japan's Internet giant SoftBank invested $250 million in Legendary in Oct following the breakdown of negotiations to buy DreamWorks Animation.  

Budget, cast and director for what will be the 29th installment from Toho have yet to be decided, according to the studio. Production is slated to begin in summer 2015 and the film will be aimed at the global market.

Although Toho concedes it can't match $200 million Hollywood-size budget, advances in CG will allow it to create a film that can stand alongside such productions, according to a release from the studio.

The first Godzilla film was released by Toho in 1954, with the last from the storied Japanese studio Godzilla: Final Wars coming exactly half a century later in 2004. The franchise has been recognized by the Guinness World Records 2015 as the longest running in global cinematic history.

Toho also announced the formation of a Godzilla Strategic Conference (Godzi-Con), consisting of executives and directors that will look for ways to leverage the Godzilla brand through merchandising and other activities. The launch of Godzi-Con suggests that Toho is planning on creating a new Godzilla series, though the studio will not confirm anything beyond the 2016 film.    

Edwards is set to direct the next Legendary Godzilla film, set for release in 2018.  


Twitter: @GavinJBlair