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Production of Toho’s ‘Godzilla 2016’ Now Under Way

TOKYO — Production has started on “Godzilla 2016,” the working title of Toho’s new film featuring the iconic fire-breathing monster, its first since 2004.

Toho has to yet to formally announce the start of shooting, though a growing accumulation of evidence points that way.

The film continues to be penciled in for a summer 2016 release through the Toho chain. And the company has launched a “Godzilla 2016” web page.

A video of “Godzilla 2016” extras running through the streets near Tokyo’s Kamata Station on Sept. 6 as well as photos of another extra stampede at Yokohama’s Yokodai Station posted on Facebook on Sept. 13 have been credited to Gomaru Island, a community of monster movie fans tracking the film’s production.

The movie was green-lighted by the company in December last year in response to the global success of the Gareth Evans directed Hollywood version, which has also gone into sequel for Warner Bros. At the time, Toho producer Taichi Ueda, told the press “the time has come for Japan to make a film that will not lose to Hollywood.”

Later, in April, Toho announced that Hideaki Anno, best known for his work on the “Evangelion” animation franchise, and Shinji Higuchi, an effects movie specialist responsible for this year’s “Attack on Titan” apocalyptic fantasy duology, would co-direct “Godzilla 2016,” with Anno writing the script.

Since then Toho has been tight-lipped with details, with the film’s PR rep currently unavailable for comment. But in an August interview with the AP news service,  Higuchi said that for “Godzilla 2016” he would use the ‘hybrid’ techniques he developed for the two “Attack on Titan” films, in which ‘Titans’ — actors  filmed with CGI enhancement as towering humanoid monsters — break through a gap in a huge wall enclosing a human settlement and begin devouring the inhabitants.

Unfortunately for Higuchi the first “Attack on Titan” film, released on Aug. 1, was savaged by critics, while performing below Toho’s sky-high expectations at the box office. It is now look likely to finish near the $25 million mark, compared to initial projections of $40 million or more. The second film will appear in theaters on Sept. 19.

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