60 Years of Godzilla

TOKYO — Ten years after “Godzilla: Final Wars,” the last Toho Godzilla movie, trampled across the screen, the Japanese studio is gearing up to make another film featuring its iconic character.

The movie is scheduled to begin production in the summer of 2015 and bow theatrically in 2016, Toho sources have revealed. Details, including director and cast, have yet to be announced.

The inspiration is the success of Gareth Edward’s 2014 “Godzilla,” which earned $525 million worldwide and JPY3.2 billion ($26 million) in Japan, with Toho and Warner Bros. Japan co-distributing.

Toho has launched what it calls the Godzilla Strategic Conference (Godzi-Con), a committee of studio executives and directors whose aim is to reboot the Godzilla brand, including the new “Godzilla” pic.

The head of the new Godzilla project, veteran producer Taichi Ueda, told the press that, though Toho will not spend the $200 million reportedly lavished on the American “Godzilla,” “The time has come for Japan to make a film that will not lose to Hollywood.” Ueda added that Toho hopes to make Godzilla a character that “will represent Japan and be loved around the world” by the time of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

As part of its effort to reacquaint a new generation of Japanese with the country’s signature monster, Toho plans to erect a giant Godzilla statue in its Toho Cinemas Shinjuku theater by April of next year.

Meanwhile, Edwards has been signed to make “Godzilla 2,” which is set for a June 8, 2018, bow, with Legendary and Warner Bros. again co-producing.

The 28th Godzilla pic since Ishiro Honda’s first in 1954, Ryuhei Kitamura’s “Godzilla: Final Wars” earned a disappointing $12 million following its 2004 release, prompting Toho to put the character into cold storage.

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