Legendary Pictures is bringing an English-language theatrical version of Godzilla back to the screen after acquiring rights from Toho to produce a feature.
Legendary top brass said they were aiming for a 2012 release and would approach the story in “the most authentic manner possible.” Warner Bros will distribute in North America and will co-produce and co-finance. Toho will handle Japanese distribution and the partners are out to directors.
There has been a steady flow of Japanese-language Godzilla films since the monster debuted in 1954. The last prominent English-language version, called simply Godzilla, was directed by Roland Emmerich in 1994 and grossed $379m worldwide.
In addition to Legendary, Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers will produce. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will serve as executive producers.
“Godzilla is one of the world’s most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise,” Legendary chairman and CEO Thomas Tull said.
“Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has.”
“Godzilla is a signature Japanese character which we have nurtured over the years,” Toho president Hideyuki Takai said. “It is a great honour to reach an agreement with Legendary Pictures, the parent to many a blockbuster film, and we are delighted in rebooting the character together to realise its much anticipated return by fans from all over the world.”
Warner Bros Pictures Group president Jeff Robinov said Godzilla was “emblematic of the kind of branded, event films for which Warner Bros and our partners at Legendary are best known.”
Toho first unleashed Godzilla in 1954 and has produced 28 films based on the property.