Toho will release a new Japanese movie next year

A life-size Godzilla head is displayed on the balcony of the shopping complex as a new Tokyo landmark during its unveiling in Tokyo’s Kabukicho shopping and entertainment district on April 9, 2015.

Issei Kato | Reuters

The King of the Monsters still reigns in Japan – and most other places.

Godzilla’s hold on fans and pop culture began 68 years ago, but the radioactive mega-lizard’s influence on global audiences has grown due to recent box office successes 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 one new Godzilla film per year starting on Thursday, the first film’s anniversary. of the monster.

The untitled film, which will be released first in Japan and later in the United States and other markets, will be Toho’s first since “Shin Godzilla” in 2016. Toho has released few details about the new film, aside from Takashi Yamazaki — a prolific filmmaker who worked on visual effects for “Shin Godzilla” — will helm the film.

“Godzilla’s long history has shaped the world of pop culture and monster fandom for nearly 70 years,” said Lora Cohn, chief executive of Toho International, the production company’s Los Angeles-based subsidiary. distribution of films, theater and Toho theater.

Toho tweeted a teaser poster of the upcoming movie with its late Wednesday night release date.

The new movie comes as global audiences have more access to Godzilla content than ever before thanks to deep libraries of movies and TV series on streaming services. The recent box office success of US studio Legendary’s Monsterverse, which kicked off with a Godzilla movie in 2014 and led to “Godzilla vs. Kong” in 2021, also helped.

The movies, especially the latest episode, have been among the most requested on streaming services. From late March 2021 to October 2022, “Godzilla vs. Kong” was the third most-requested movie by American audiences across all platforms and genres, behind “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “The Batman.” according to data provider Parrot Analytics. Globally, it is the fourth most in demand.

“There is more access to Godzilla than ever through streaming services and the internet,” said Bill Tsutsui, a historian and scholar 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 for gathering around monsters.”

A photo from Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

Source: Warner Bros.

“Godzilla vs. Kong”, one of the first films to hit theaters after the Covid shutdowns, was a box office success, raking in over $468 million in worldwide sales. A sequel is in the works for 2024.

Godzilla has graced the silver screen in various forms, first in 1954’s “Gojira” in Japan, and later in later films produced outside the monster’s home country. The first Godzilla film made entirely in the United States was released in 1998, reigniting the appetite for monster movies, but received poor reviews.

“When Legendary brought back Godzilla in 2014, I was like, ‘Oh cool, this thing I loved growing up is finally being taken seriously by Hollywood. We all know that Godzilla from the late 90s has aged like milk. “said Chris Anderson, 31. from Northern California, who has been a fan of Godzilla movies since he was little. (The 1998 American “Godzilla,” from the team behind “Independence Day,” has become a punchline, especially in Japan. In Toho’s 2004 “Godzilla: Final Wars,” the Japanese Godzilla destroys the American version. .)

Even Toho’s “Shin Godzilla” has power outside of Japan, peaking in US demand between January 2021 and October 2022, according to Parrot Analytics. The film is only available for rental or purchase on platforms like Amazon Prime Video or Apple’s iTunes. In Japan, “Shin Godzilla” has also been in high demand and has outperformed “Godzilla vs. Kong” since the start of 2021, according to Parrot.

“For so many decades, Japanese people didn’t take great pride in creating this monster movie. It wasn’t as big in Japan as Godzilla was overseas. However, recently, Japanese people, including the studio Toho, have realized what a huge Godzilla property is, and they’ve done a much better job of mining and marketing Godzilla and developing that property,” Tsutsui said. “The Japanese have a newfound sense of pride in the monster. , and that’s an important addition here.”

Godzilla-fan Anderson has enjoyed all of the recent legendary movies, but is a big fan of Toho’s 2016 “Shin Godzilla.” “I’m still waiting for a sequel to that one,” Anderson said.

Streaming has also become a new outlet for Godzilla to make its mark, with services like Pluto TV airing Godzilla movie stunts all day on its ad-supported channel “Cult Films” on November 3, and others featuring of the libraries of the two Japanese. and American movies.

“There are so many new opportunities to enjoy Godzilla and be creative with the monster,” Tsutsui said.

In 2017, Toho Animation and Polygon created an animated Godzilla trilogy for Netflix, while Legendary Television is bringing a Godzilla series with Toho executive producers to Apple TV+, which will be set in the same universe as recent Legendary movies.

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

Source: Warner Bros. Studios.

The still-unnamed series got some power behind it this summer when father and son actors Kurt and Wyatt Russell joined the cast.

Meanwhile, Toho also unveiled “Godzilla Day”, as November 3 is known to fans, which it is putting “Godzilla Island”, a Japanese anime series that has never been available in the United States, on its Youtube channel. The series, made up of 256 episodes of a few minutes each, was broadcast on Japanese television in the late 90s and will be available in mid-November.

Connecting audiences through social media is also a priority for Toho, which has turned to influencers to present Godzilla in different guises.

Also on Thursday, influencer Vivian Xue Rahey, the founder of a nail salon who took her business mostly online during the pandemic lockdown and ships press-on nails to her customers with requested art, will unveil designs Godzilla themed nail art. Xue Rahey’s TikTok channel has 2.6 million subscribers.

“Toho came to me a while ago and wanted me to create something really epic,” Xue Rahey said, pointing out that the special effects needed to be showcased, especially the heat ray 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 thermal color changes. There will be a contest to win a free set of Godzilla Nails on Thursday.

Toho movies will also hit theaters for special showcases on Thursday.

Fathom Events, in partnership with Toho, will release “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla”, Toho’s 2002 Japanese film, in US theaters for the very first time. Additionally, independent movie channel Alamo is also showing the original film, known in Japan as “Gojira,” in 4K high definition in all of its markets from Thursday through November 6.

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