It’s official: the monsters Godzilla and King Kong will be doing battle on the big screen. Legendary Pictures announced today that following the release of Kong: Skull Island in 2017 and Godzilla 2 in 2018, they’ll be partnering with Warner Bros. to produce Godzilla vs. Kong for a 2020 release date, confirming a trio of interconnected films and a new monster universe.
The prospect of a team up film had been brewing over the past few months, but its practicality was murky given that Legendary’s deal was now set up over at Universal Pictures, which was producing Kong: Skull Island. Understandably, Universal wasn’t thrilled about laying groundwork for a future Warner Bros. film in their King Kong movie. The fix? Legendary is heading back to Warner Bros. for this interconnected monster universe. The studio will maintain its new home at Universal, but Kong: Skull Island—which begins production on October 19th—is moving to Warner Bros., which is still set as the distributor of Godzilla 2.
As announced at Comic-Con last summer, Legendary now has the rights to Toho monsters Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah, who may or may not be making appearances in the Godzilla sequel, which has Gareth Edwards attached to return and direct after he completes his Star Wars movie Rogue One. But the press release makes clear that this is an interconnected universe, so appearances in Skull Island can’t be entirely ruled out.
The Kong film has Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kings of Summer) at the helm with a cast that includes Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, and Toby Kebbell. The latter actor is listed last on the cast sheet, and given his stellar work as Koba in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, I have to wonder if he’ll be performing the motion-capture for the monstrous Kong.
No word on who will direct the big battle film Godzilla vs. Kong, but with an unspecified 2020 release date, there’s still plenty of time to figure that out. Kong: Skull Island arrives in 3D and IMAX 3D on March 10, 2017 and Godzilla 2 is slated for June 8, 2018—which is two weeks before Universal’s Jurassic World sequel (throw that shade, WB!). Check out the full press release below.
Burbank, CA – October 14, 2015 – Following Legendary’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ 2014 success with the global reinvention of the Godzilla franchise, the companies have come together to create an epic, new shared cinematic franchise. All-powerful monsters become towering heroes for a new generation, revealing a mythology that brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new. Monarch, the human organization that uncovered Godzilla in the 2014 film, will expand their mission across multiple releases.
The announcement that the reinvention of monsters continues was made today by Legendary CEO, Thomas Tull, and Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. The initial trio of films are 2017’s KONG: SKULL ISLAND; GODZILLA 2 in 2018; and then GODZILLA VS. KONG, arriving in theaters in 2020. While Legendary maintains its new home at Universal Pictures, the GODZILLA films remain in partnership with Warner Bros., who will now also distribute KONG as a part of this franchise. Production on KONG: SKULL ISLAND begins October 19th.
Warner Bros. and Legendary released Godzilla in May 2014 with an agreement to release Godzilla 2 on June 8, 2018. Both films feature the humanMonarch organization. Shortly following Legendary’s pact with NBC Universal, Legendary acquired rights to additional classic characters from Toho’s Godzilla universe, including Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. This paved the way for developing a franchise centered around Monarch and anchored by Godzilla, King Kong, and other famous creatures.
When Legendary announced films centered on Godzilla and Kong, fans all over the world speculated these two characters might one day meet in the same film. Classic Toho monsters including King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan, as announced at Comic-Con 2014, may also join the Legendary pantheon of giant monster mayhem going forward.
“Audiences really responded to Godzilla,” stated Tull. “Today, I’m excited to reveal that film was only the beginning of an epic new entertainment universe. As a lifelong fan of these characters, I’ve always wanted to see the ultimate showdown, and today we’re pleased to be announcing that and more.”
“Working with our partners at Legendary, we enjoyed tremendous creative and commercial success with `Godzilla,’” said Tsujihara. “It’s great to be able to revisit these characters and help create a franchise with so many creative possibilities for filmmakers. Fans love these big, globally iconicfilms and it doesn’t get any bigger than this.”