Legendary Pictures Nabs GODZILLA Rights; Sets Sights for a Destructive 2012

     March 29, 2010

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Godzilla, the fire-breathing behemoth that loves to terrorize Japan and fight giant moths, will make a return to U.S. cinemas soon. Last August, we reported that Legendary Pictures was eyeing the monster franchise and today we received a press release stating that Legendary has finally struck a deal with Toho for the rights to create a new film with Warner Bros. co-financing and co-producing the picture, with a planned 2012 release. Those familiar with the franchise might recall that the last major reboot of Godzilla was directed by Roland Emmerich in 1998, and many can only pray that the gamma radiation emitted from Godzilla’s body doesn’t drive Legendary Pictures crazy enough to give him the film again. Surely, if this happens, Emmerich’s global doomsday scenario in 2012 might just occur…or maybe small riots of Godzilla fans.

For the full press release, including a few choice quotes from those involved, hit the jump.

godzilla_raid_image__1_.jpgHere’s the full press release:

*LEGENDARY PICTURES TO DEVELOP AND PRODUCE MAJOR MOTION PICTURE BASED ON TOHO COMPANY’S ICONIC MONSTER, GODZILLA*

Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan.

“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,” said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. “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. It is a great honor to reach an agreement with Legendary Pictures, the parent to many a blockbuster film, and we are delighted in rebooting the character together to realize its much anticipated return by fans from all over the world,” comments Hideyuki Takai, President of Toho Co., Ltd. “We are anxious to find out where Godzilla’s new stomping will take us.”

“Godzilla is emblematic of the kind of branded, event films for which Warner Bros. and our partners at Legendary are best known. We have enjoyed a great deal of success together to date and this newest opportunity represents yet another chance for us to collaborate on a property that is very clearly in their wheelhouse,” said Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will Executive Produce.

*About Legendary Pictures *

Founded in 2004, Legendary Pictures owns, produces and delivers, on a global basis, some of the world’s most popular intellectual property to the powerful fandom psychographic as well as broader audiences. With partner Warner Bros., Legendary Pictures’ productions include such global blockbusters as The Dark Knight ($1 billion worldwide), ‘300’ ($456 million worldwide) and The Hangover ($467 million worldwide). The company has established itself as a trusted brand which consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment. Among the projects that Legendary is currently developing is an adaptation of the phenomenally successful interactive game universe Warcraft; to be directed by Sam Raimi (Spiderman). Through complete or joint ownership, Legendary is building a library of marquee entertainment properties.

*About Toho Company, Ltd.*

Founded in 1932 and headquartered in Tokyo, Toho Company, Ltd. is one of the leading entertainment conglomerates in Japan. Toho is best known worldwide as the producer of twenty-eight Godzilla motion pictures, based upon a character the company unleashed on the world back in 1954, and masterpiece films directed by Akira Kurosawa. Toho has been the number one distributor of motion pictures in Japan (both domestic and foreign) for seven consecutive years since 2003. The company is also, throughout Japan, the leading producer of theatrical works and one of the largest owners of office buildings and theaters.

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