Japan’s Toho Woos Female Non-Believers to Hollywood ‘Godzilla’

Godzilla Japanese poster

TOKYO – Top Japanese distributor Toho is targeting women in order to make its release of the Legendary Pictures-made “Godzilla” a box office success.

The original Japanese “Godzilla” series was a Toho lineup staple for generations, but was pitched squarely at what Toho described as the “family market” — meaning parents with young children. Conspicuous by their absence in the seats were young women — a key audience demo in Japan. This limited the B.O. impact of the series, which ended in 2004 with “Godzilla: Final Wars,” a flop with earnings of $12 million.

Knowing that it has to attract females to make the new “Godzilla” a major hit in its last world market, Toho on Monday staged a “talk event” with 100 young women who had mostly said their interest in seeing the pic was zero.

Charged with winning over these skeptics at the Tokyo Midtown shopping and entertainment complex, were Toho “Godzilla” actor and lifelong series fan Shiro Sano, Hollywood “Godzilla” voice actor Haru and film commentator LiLiCo.

Sano somewhat hyperbolically described the title monster as “sexy” while LiLiCo praised 24-year-old star Aaron Taylor-Johnson for marrying 47-year-old director Sam Taylor-Johnson. “It gives me hope,” she said.

The pitch succeeded, if the show of “want to see” hands at the end was any indication, but the real test will come on July 25 when the pic opens in 2D, 3D and 3D Imax versions, both subtitled and dubbed.

Toho, however, has not prepared a “female friendly” cut of the pic, which might have had more close-ups of its hard-bodied, scaly, star.

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  1. Eido INOUE says:

    “the pic opens in 2D, 3D and 3D IMAX versions, both sub-titled and dubbed, including a Japanese-subbed and dubbed version for the hearing-impaired.”

    Um, subtitles and dubbing of foreign language films has NOTHING to do with being hearing impaired or not. Variety: make your writers watch a few more foreign films so they know what they’re talking about please!

    • Um, that is a really stupid comment. The author IS himself hearing impaired. He knows exactly what he is writing about.

      • Eido INOUE says:

        Upon re-reading the article more carefully, I see what the writer was saying was that two different versions of the subtitles/dubbed versions exist: one subtitled & dubbed version for the hearing, and another subbed/dubbed version for the hearing impaired.

        My apologies for the misunderstanding.

      • Eido INOUE says:

        The subtitles designed for foreign language films are not the same thing thing as closed captions; subtitles for foreign language films (as the English language 2014 Godzilla is for Japan market) translates both the dialog (and takes liberties with it) and the signs/text in the film. Closed Captions (and the “English subtitles for the hearing impaired” on U.S. market DVDs/Blu-Ray) to to transcribe word-for-word in the same language and also indicate the presence of critical sound effects and music.

        I’m sure the hearing impaired author knows something about closed captions and subtitles for the hearing impaired, but sorry, it’s obvious he does not understand what subtitles are for foreign language films, which are NOT optimized for the hearing impaired (you’ll miss key sound cues relevant to the plot, for example).

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