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Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi to Direct ‘Godzilla 2016’

Top Japanese filmmakers Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi will team up to co-direct “Godzilla 2016”, the new Japanese version of the iconic Godzilla monster movie franchise.

The Toho studio, which licensed remake rights to Warner Bros. for the hit 2014 revival by director Gareth Edwards, produced the seemingly terminal “Godzilla: Final Wars” back in 2004.

But interest was revived by 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.

“Ever since Hollywood announced that ‘Godzilla’ was to be resurrected, the expectation for another Japanese Godzilla grew. And if we were to newly produce, we looked into Japanese creators who were the most knowledgeable and who had the most passion for Godzilla” said Toho in a statement.

Anno will also be responsible for the screenplay while Higuchi will oversee the picture’s VFX.

The two directors previously collaborated on “God Warrior Appears in Tokyo.” “Their drive to take on such new challenges was exactly what we all had been inspired by,” said Toho.

Anno worked on the animation of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli-produced “Nausicaa in the Valley of Wind.” He later directed anime series including “Gunbuster,” “Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water” and the “Neon Genesis Evangelion” series for which he is best most known. He also curated a touring exhibition Tokusatsu — Special Effects Museum.

Higuchi also worked on the “Evangelion” series, before debuting as a feature director with “Lorelei: The Witch of the Pacific Ocean” in 2005 and scoring a major hit with “The Sinking of Japan.”

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.

In total Toho has produced 28 Godzilla movies since 1954 when Ishiro Honda directed the first. Ryuhei Kitamura’s “Godzilla: Final Wars” earned a disappointing $12 million.

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