ⓘ Godzilla (2014 film)
Godzilla is a 2014 American monster film directed by Gareth Edwards. It is a reboot of Tohos Godzilla franchise and is the 30th film in the Godzilla franchise, the first film in Legendarys MonsterVerse, and the second Godzilla film to be completely produced by a Hollywood studio. The film stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, and Bryan Cranston. In the film, a soldier attempts to return to his family while caught in the crossfire of an ancient rivalry between Godzilla and two parasitic monsters known as MUTOs.
The project began as an IMAX short film in 2004 but was transferred to Legendary in 2009 to be redeveloped as a feature film. The film was officially announced in March 2010 and Edwards was announced as the director in January 2011. Principal photography began in March 2013 in the United States and Canada and ended in July 2013.
Godzilla was theatrically released on May 16, 2014, to positive reviews, with criticisms aimed at Godzillas screen-time and underdeveloped characters, but praise towards the films direction, visual effects, musical score, cinematography, respect to the source material, and Cranstons performance. The film was a box office success, grossing $529 million worldwide. The films success prompted Toho to produce a reboot of their own and Legendary to proceed with sequels, with Godzilla: King of the Monsters released on May 31, 2019, and Godzilla vs. Kong to be released on November 20, 2020.
In 1954, Godzilla, a prehistoric alpha predator, is lured to Bikini Atoll in an attempt to kill him with a nuclear bomb. In 1999, Monarch scientists Ishiro Serizawa and Vivienne Graham investigate the skeleton of a monster similar to Godzilla in a cavern unearthed by a collapsed uranium mine in the Philippines. They also find two giant spores, one dormant and one hatched, along with a trail leading to the sea. In Japan, the Janjira Nuclear Power Plant experiences unusual seismic activity as supervisor Joe Brody sends his wife Sandra to lead a team of technicians into the reactor. A tremor breaches the reactor, forcing Joe to close the reactor door before Sandra and her team can escape while the plant collapses.
15 years later, Joe and Sandras son Ford, a U.S. Navy explosive ordnance disposal officer, returns from a tour of duty to his wife Elle and son Sam in San Francisco, but must immediately depart for Japan after Joe is detained for trespassing in Janjiras quarantine zone. Joe is determined to find out the cause of the meltdown, and persuades Ford to accompany him to retrieve vital data from their old home. They discover the zone is uncontaminated and retrieve the data, but are discovered and taken to a facility in the plants ruins. The facility harbors a massive chrysalis that had been feeding off of the plants reactors for 15 years and emitting strong electro-magnetic pulses over time. A giant winged insect-like creature emerges from the chrysalis and escapes, destroying the facility. Joe is severely injured and later dies. The incident is reported as an earthquake.
Serizawa and Graham join a U.S. Navy task force led by Admiral William Stenz to search for the creature, dubbed "MUTO" Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism. Serizawa and Graham reveal to Ford that a 1954 deep sea expedition awakened Godzilla and nuclear tests in the 1950s were really attempts to kill him and when this did not work, Project Monarch was established to secretly study Godzilla and similar monsters. They also explain the MUTO caused the Janjira meltdown. Ford reveals Joe had monitored echolocation signals indicating the MUTO was communicating with something, presumably Godzilla.
The MUTO attacks a Russian submarine and drops it in Oahu to eat its nuclear material. Godzilla arrives, causing a tsunami in Honolulu, and briefly engages the MUTO in battle until the MUTO flees. Serizawa deduces the MUTO was communicating with something else, prompting the military to investigate the other spore stored in the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada. However, a second, bigger, wingless MUTO has already emerged, and attacks Las Vegas. The scientists deduce that it is female and was what the male was communicating with, their signals being a mating call.
Over the scientists objections, Stenz approves a plan to use nuclear warheads to lure all three monsters out to the open ocean and destroy them. Returning to the U.S., Ford joins the team delivering the warheads by train, but the female MUTO intercepts them and devours most of the warheads. The remaining warhead is airlifted with Ford to San Francisco, where the monsters are converging, and activated after Godzilla appears at the Golden Gate Bridge, only for the male MUTO to snatch it and take it to the female, who forms a nest around it in the Chinatown area.
While Godzilla and the MUTOs battle, Ford and a strike team enter the city via HALO jump to find and disarm the warhead before it detonates. Unable to access the timer, the rest of the team gets the warhead to the waterfront on a boat for disposal at sea, while Ford destroys the nest using gasoline, distracting the MUTOs and allowing Godzilla to kill the male. The female pursues the warhead and kills the rest of the team, but Godzilla catches up and kills her as well before collapsing from exhaustion on the shore. Ford gets the boat out to open sea, is rescued before the warhead explodes, and reunites with his family at an emergency shelter the following morning. Godzilla reawakens and returns to the sea, while the media dub him the "King of the Monsters" and speculate whether he might be a savior.
- Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Ford Brody
- Ken Watanabe as Dr. Ishirō Serizawa
- Elizabeth Olsen as Elle Brody
- Juliette Binoche as Sandra Brody
- Sally Hawkins as Dr. Vivienne Graham
- David Strathairn as Admiral William Stenz
- Bryan Cranston as Joe Brody
- T.J. Storm as Godzilla mo-cap performance
Additional roles include: Carson Bolde as Sam Brody; Richard T. Jones as Captain Russell Hampton; Victor Rasuk as Sergeant Tre Morales; Patrick Sabongui as Master Sergeant Marcus Waltz, USAF; Jared Keeso as Jump Master; Al Sapienza as Huddleston, the head of security at the Janjira MUTO facility; Brian Markinson as Whalen, a scientist at the Janjira MUTO facility; Catherine Lough Haggquist as PO #1 Martinez; Jake Cunanan as Akio; Warren Takeuchi as Akios father; Yuki Morita as Akios mother; Ken Yamamura as Takashi, Joes associate at the Janjira facility; Hiro Kanagawa as Hayato, a technician at the Janjira facility; Garry Chalk as Stan Walsh; and Christian Tessier as a technician.
Godzilla franchise actor Akira Takarada was cast as an immigration officer, but his scene was cut from the final film. Edwards stated cutting the scene was his "biggest regret". Despite cutting the cameo, Takarada is still listed in the closing credits of the film.
The film is a co-production of Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, with the participation of Toho in creature design, sound design and plot. It has an estimated $160 million production budget, financed 75% by Legendary and 25% by Warner Bros. The movie has an estimated $65 million promotion and advertising budget, for a total estimated budget of $225 million. The film is Warner Bros. Pictures first new Godzilla property since 1959s Gigantis, the Fire Monster.
3.1. Production Development
After the release of 2004s Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, Toho announced that it would not produce any films featuring the Godzilla character for ten years. Toho demolished the water stage on its lot used in numerous Godzilla films to stage water scenes. TriStar Pictures, which had made the 1998 Godzilla film and held the rights to make a trilogy of films, let its rights expire in 2003.
3.2. Production Godzilla 3D To The Max
In August 2004, Yoshimitsu Banno, who had directed 1971s Godzilla vs. Hedorah, announced that he had secured the rights from Toho to make a Godzilla IMAX 3D short film at his Advanced Audiovisual Productions AAP production company. The film was tentatively titled Godzilla 3D to the Max, and was to be a remake of the Godzilla vs. Hedorah story. In 2005, American Peter Anderson, ASC was added to the project as cinematographer, visual effects supervisor and co-producer by an independent producer Kenji Okuhira who represented Banno. In the same year, American producer Brian Rogers signed on to the project after the meeting with Banno arranged by Okuhira and Anderson.
In 2007, also through Anderson, Kerner Optical then came on board to develop the technology and to produce the 3-D film and with Kerners backing, in the fall of 2007, the team met with Toho in Tokyo where they re-negotiated their license to allow the release of a feature-length 3-D theatrical production. In 2008, Kerner was facing financial troubles that threatened to cancel the production. In 2009, Rogers, Anderson and the then-proposed director Keith Melton met with Legendary Pictures to get their backing on a 3-D theatrical film.
In 2010, it was green-lit by Legendary to go to production. From the Godzilla 3D production team, Banno and Okuhira would remain on the project as executive producers and Rogers as a producer. In November 2013, Banno stated that he still planned to make a sequel to Godzilla vs. Hedorah ; however, Banno passed away on May 7, 2017.
3.3. Production Legendary production
In August 2009, rumors surfaced that Legendary was in talks with Toho to produce a new American Godzilla film to be released in 2012, and on March 29, 2010, Legendary officially announced its acquisition of the Godzilla license. According to Hideyuki Takai, president of Toho Co.: "We are delighted in rebooting the character together to realize its much-anticipated return by fans from all over the world. We are anxious to find out where Godzilla’s new stomping will take us." Legendary announced it would reboot the franchise with Warner Bros. co-producing and co-financing. Legendary announced it would make the new film closer in style to the original 1954 film rather than the 1998 film and its "iguana-like creature". According to Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary Pictures, "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." Film producers Dan Lin, Roy Lee, Doug Davison and Legendarys Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni were added to the project to work with Rogers, Banno and Okuhira.
At the 3D Summit conference held in September 2010 at Universal Studios, producer Brian Rogers confirmed a targeted release date for 2012, the reboot will be a live-action project featuring a fully computer-generated Godzilla battling two other monsters rather than simply the military as seen in Emmerichs 1998 film. Rogers also confirmed that the two Godzilla head designs online rumored to have been designed by Legendary and sent to Toho for approval were fake. Rogers also stressed his and Legendarys wish to revive Godzilla in the same fashion Legendary had revived Batman.
In October 2010, it was rumoured that Guillermo del Toro was approached to direct the film, which del Toro later denied. In January 2011, Gareth Edwards was announced as the director for the film. In an interview publicizing the DVD release of Monsters, Edwards discussed the new film: "this will definitely have a very different feel than the 1998 film and our biggest concern is making sure we get it right for the fans because we know their concerns. It must be brilliant in every category because Im a fan as well." Edwards further stated, "Without addressing anything specific, everyone knows how important it is to get it right."
The film remained in development into 2012, missing the planned release date. Edwards worked on his vision for the film at a stage at the Warner Bros. lot. The production team developed Godzilla models, artwork and pre-visualizations of the action scenes of the movie. From the lot, Edward directed a short teaser video, shown to Legendary executives and later shown at the San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2012.
3.4. Production Writing
In 2010, David Callaham pitched his take on Godzilla to Legendary and Warner Bros. and was hired to write the first draft. Speaking of his draft, Callaham stated, "Godzilla is a pretty cut and dry, giant monster that smashes stuff. But the reason I got excited about it is because I saw themes and relationships to the modern world that I could tell in this story that was important." Callaham did research on Godzillas history, animal documentaries, as well as natural disasters and local government disaster plannings in order to depict the events as close as possible to real-life disasters.
When Edwards signing was announced, it was also announced that Callahams first draft would be rewritten by another writer. In July 2011, David S. Goyer was attached to rewrite the script. Goyer only worked a few weeks on the script and did not get any credit, stating, is first seen, we wanted a build up, and then pan up, we see him, and then we dont see him. I love that."
3.5. Production Post-production
Visual effects on the film were supervised by visual effects supervisor Jim Rygiel, best known for his work on The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Rygiel has stated that the effects are in the spirit of the original series, with the blessing of Toho, although the monster would be "more dynamic than a guy in a big rubber suit." Visual and special effects companies working on the picture include the Moving Picture Company MPC, Double Negative, Weta Digital, Amalgamated Dynamics, ComputerCafe/CafeFX, Lidar VFX, Scanline VFX, Stereo D and The Third Floor. Production of the movie was completed in the last week of March 2014.
To create a CG version of Godzilla, MPC studied various animals such as bears, Komodo dragons, lizards, lions and wolves which helped the visual effects artists visualize Godzillas body structure like that of its underlying bone, fat and muscle structure as well as the thickness and texture of its scale.
The production used high-quality panorama photos of the San Francisco skyline, and built a three-dimensional map of the city. The map was used in the background of sequences shot on the bridge set in Vancouver. According to Jim Rygiel, "this technique gives you a real city that is accurate down to every piece of mortar in a brick building, so, using that, we were able to composite the live action shots with the key frame-animated monsters destroying digital buildings into a seamless whole." Army vehicles, including tanks were provided by CGI and are not real vehicles. The studio digitized actual military equipment from the 7th Infantry Division of the Army. The films title sequence was designed by Kyle Cooper, who had done the title sequence for Godzilla: Final Wars. The films sound was mixed at Warner Bros. studio in Burbank, California. The tracks were mixed by Gregg Landaker in the Dolby Atmos surround-sound format for exhibition in theaters with Atmos-equipped sound systems.
Edwards decided on a restrained approach similar to when films were fueled by a "sense of anticipation" and relied on "high suspense", citing Alien, Jaws, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind as influences. On why Edwards chose a restrained direction, he stated, "I felt that in modern cinema its so easy to just throw everything at the screen constantly." Edwards also wanted Godzilla to feel "universal" in a way that it could appeal to a general audience like Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Edwards additionally stated, "I grew up watching Spielberg movies, what they did so well - as well as having epic, fantastic spectacle - they made the characters feel real and human. We were trying to do the same thing here." Critics and journalists have also noted the films nods to Steven Spielbergs style of filmmaking and influence from films such as Jaws, Jurassic Park, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Katsuhiro Otomos Akira had also influenced the visual design of the film, Edwards stated, ".one of our designers on the film - a friend called Matt - when we were designing things, and got stuck, wed always go, What would Akira do?" For the films cinematography, Edwards wanted ".to do this beautifully real documentary vibe, but also that classic Spielberg style". Ishirō Hondas Godzilla 1954 also inspired the film, Edwards stated, "Godzilla is a metaphor for Hiroshima in the original movie. We tried to keep that, and there are a lot of themes from the 54 movie that weve kept."
Real life events such as the 2004 Indian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Fukushima nuclear disaster served as heavy influences on the realism behind the films destruction scenes and man vs. nature themes. Edwards had also cited action films from the late 70s and early 80s having influenced the film as well, stating, "We tried to make a blockbuster that harks back to the pace and style of the early ’80s and late ’70s action movies."
Film composer Alexandre Desplat was hired to compose an original soundtrack for Godzilla. Desplat had not composed previously for a monster film, having worked on movies such as The Kings Speech, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and the final two Harry Potter films. Desplat accepted the contract after being impressed with Edwards film Monsters. Desplat describes the soundtrack for Godzilla as "non-stop fortissimo, with lots of brass, Japanese drums, and electric violin." The score is also conducted by Desplat. The film score was released by WaterTower Music on May 12 and 13, 2014.
The film features Gyorgy Ligetis Requiem also used in 2001: A Space Odyssey, Dusty Springfields 1969 recording of "Breakfast in Bed," and Elvis Presleys "Youre the Devil in Disguise."
All music is composed by Alexandre Desplat.
In promotion of the project, visitors to the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con SDCC received a T-shirt with an image of the new Godzilla design, an image credited to comics and manga publisher UDON Entertainment. Artist Gonzalo Ordoñez Arias worked with Legendary and Toho to create the painting. Further, visitors to the Legendary Pictures booth at the convention could view an animation of the new Godzilla breathing radioactive fire superimposed over their image captured via a webcam. The augmented reality promotion was designed by Talking Dog Studios of Saskatchewan, Canada.
At a session during the July 2012 SDCC, Legendary presented both a poster for the film and a teaser trailer. The teaser trailer included a depiction of Godzilla faithful to the Toho monster, including its roar, and a "gigantic centipede-like monster." The centipede-like monster was not used in the final film. Screenwriter Max Borenstein later confirmed that the centipede monster was conceived only for the teaser and only to indicate that Godzilla would fight another creature. It was included in the teaser before Borenstein completed writing the script.
During filming in Vancouver, Legendary released several videos and still pictures of filming in Vancouver on its Facebook site. Pictures included a destroyed subway car with a green screen backdrop, soldiers inspecting a radioactive vault and wreckage on a shoreline. In July 2013, Legendary launched a "viral" website godzillaencounter.com in conjunction with the film. The company was promoting the film at the 2013 SDCC, and converted a warehouse in San Diego to the "Godzilla Encounter" exhibit in conjunction with the convention. According to USA Today, the exhibit was "part museum, part theme park" with displays to simulate an experience of a Godzilla attack. The exhibit also had artifacts from the franchise series, including the "Oxygen Destroyer" of the original film, and a Godzilla costume from Godzilla 2000. An audio sample was released on Godzillaencounter.com of an announcement suggesting Godzilla or a "gigantic atomic creature" attacking San Diego.
At a session at the 2013 Comic-Con, Legendary showed footage from the film. As reported by various media, the footage is of a large monster, reminiscent of the Cloverfield monster, attacking an airport, when Godzillas foot appears next to the monster. Godzillas height is revealed to be several times the size of the other monster and a battle ensues, but Godzillas face is not revealed. Various clips of scenes with Cranston, Taylor-Johnson and Olsen were also shown.
In October 2013, the proof of concept footage shown at SDCC 2012 was leaked online and was available on several video sharing websites for several days before Warner Bros. and Legendary managed to have it fully removed. The first official trailer was released online on December 10, 2013, and was attached to theatrical showings of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug in select theaters. Also on December 10, Toho released a slightly different version of the trailer with Japanese subtitles, and a TV spot. Within two days, the trailer surpassed nine million views on YouTube. Legendary launched a viral web site www.mutoresearch.net just prior to the trailer release, with video from the trailer and the trailer itself. Toho launched a web site of its own, godzilla.jp, with a simple arcade game of Godzilla stomping on Tokyo and using his radioactive breath, as well as appearances from King Ghidorah and Mothra.
The second trailer was released on February 25, 2014. It revealed more scenes of destruction by Godzilla on San Francisco and Las Vegas, brief glimpses of other creatures, as well as a conspiracy plot intertwined with the atomic blast tests in the Pacific Ocean in 1954. Within three days, the video had recorded 13 million views on YouTube. Several more trailers were released, with variations for North America, Japan, Asia outside Japan and internationally. Several of the marketing materials won awards: the trailer "Ravaged/Event", the TV spot "Fight", and the Godzilla poster won Golden Trailer Awards.
In cross promotion, Godzilla appeared in a light-hearted commercial for the Snickers chocolate bar, playing ping pong and water skiing. The angry Godzilla is calmed by eating a Snickers bar. Godzilla is portrayed as both human-sized and much larger. Another cross-promotion commercial was made, featuring Godzilla in a Fiat 500L car commercial. In it, Godzilla is rampaging through a city, devouring Fiat cars as he goes, with a soldier claiming that he was "craving Italian." He then approaches to devour a Fiat 500L, but because of the cars size being larger than a 500 model, Godzilla cannot swallow it. Nearly choking on it, he spits out the car as it drives away.
Legendary Pictures had set up a new Applied Analytics Group to direct its marketing efforts, and Godzilla was the first film that used analytics, similar to the use of sports analytics, to direct its marketing. According to Legendary CEO Thomas Tull, it developed a news software program named "Eddington", which, based on a massive database, was able to determine demographic trends among sub-groups of core filmgoers. It extended the standard Hollywood four-quadrant analysis of male/female and under/over 25 years of age to smaller target markets. Godzilla beat predictions of an opening-weekend gross of $60 million by over $30 million, a difference Tull attributed to Eddington. According to Tull, Legendary spent less in marketing than it had in the past.
In July 2014, Japan completed a 6.6 meters 22 ft statue in Tokyo Midtown area in Tokyo.
6.1. Marketing Merchandise
In June 2013, Variety reported that Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Legendary Entertainment had assembled a large team of partners to make licensed merchandise to be released in conjunction with the film. Bandai America produced a line of toys, and other products were produced by NECA, Jakks Pacific, Bioworld, Trevco, Rubies and Sideshow Collectibles. Bandai and NECA produced toys inspired by the film; JAKKS Pacific produced large-scale figures and other toy products; Rubies produced Godzilla costumes; and Sideshow Collectibles produced collectible statues.
A novelization, written by science-fiction writer Greg Cox, was published by Titan Books in May 2014, to coincide with the films release. Cox has previously written novelizations for movies, including Legendarys own The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel. Two other books were scheduled for release including Godzilla: With Light and Sound! for children, and Godzilla: The Art of Destruction, a collection of artwork, plus interviews with the director and cast members.
Legendary announced in January 2014, along with a video message by Edwards, a tie-in graphic novel to be released on May 7, 2014, one week before the movie. Entitled Godzilla: Awakening, the novels events take place decades before the events seen in the film. It is co-written by Greg Borenstein and the films screenwriter Max Borenstein, with cover art by Arthur Adams and interior art by Eric Battle, Yvel Guichet, Alan Quah and Lee Loughridge. The tagline is "Delve into an incredible mystery, generations in the making. At the dawn of the atomic age, humanity awakens lifeforms beyond imagination, unleashing monumental forces of nature."
Pictures of the line of toys, including a Godzilla "Atomic Roar" model by Bandai, were leaked to the internet in March 2014. The Godzilla model has "atomic fire breath". The toys shipped in March 2014. A S.H.Monsterarts version of the 2014 Godzilla is also announced by Bandai, which is released in September 2014. A tie-in game for mobile devices was announced in March 2014. The game, titled Godzilla Smash 3, allows moves by matching three items of a similar type in a row. It is being made by Rogue Play and features puzzle-based gameplay similar to Candy Crush Saga. Above the game board, a view of Godzilla destroying various military vehicles is featured and the different attacks correspond to the combinations the player scores. The game was released in May 2014. Legendarys Godzilla was featured as a playable character in Bandai Namcos 2014 video game Godzilla as "Hollywood Godzilla".
7.1. Release Theatrical
Godzilla had its red carpet premiere at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on May 8, 2014. An "Aftermath Afterparty" was held after the premiere, which featured a 22-foot statue of Godzilla made out of rubble erected before the El Capitan Theatre. Godzilla received wide release worldwide in 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D beginning May 16, 2014. In the United States, the film was given a PG-13 rating by the Motion Picture Association of America MPAA for "intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence." The film was released in China on June 13 and in Japan on July 25, 2014. In April 2014, Toho had an early screening of Godzilla and gave a positive review. Edwards said, "They saw it yesterday and I got an e-mail saying they thought it was fantastic! So that was a relief." Legendary also held screenings for the military.
7.2. Release Home media
Godzilla was released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD formats on September 16, 2014, in North America. It was released for digital HD download on August 26, 2014. Target released their own exclusive edition of the Blu-ray which included an exclusive 30-minute featurette titled Godzilla: Rebirth of an Icon while Walmart released their own exclusive edition which only featured an alternative cover for the DVD. Producer Thomas Tull confirmed plans for an extended cut of the film to be released in the future. In the United States, the DVD and Blu-ray releases sold 1.789.969 units in 10 weeks and have grossed $40 million as of August 2018.
Toho released the film on Blu-ray and DVD formats in Japan on February 25, 2015, as well as a five-disc limited edition Blu-ray set including the 3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD, a disc of bonus features includes the North American special features, as well as additional Japan-exclusive features, a full color booklet with Japanese promotional art, and an exclusive S.H. MonsterArts figure. Warner Bros. released a re-issue of the Blu-ray on February 7, 2017 to commemorate the release of Kong: Skull Island. Warner Bros. released a second re-issue of the Blu-ray on April 9, 2019 to commemorate the release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters.
8.1. Reception Box office
Legendary estimated that the film would need to gross $380 million worldwide to break-even. Godzilla grossed $9.3 million in North America at early Thursday screenings, one of the best late-night openings for a non-sequel, and $93.2 million for the entire weekend, making it the fifth highest opening weekend in 2014. Its opening weekend gross broke the records for the highest weekend debuts for a disaster film and a creature feature. It was estimated that approximately half of the gross was in 3D screenings. In its second weekend, which saw competition from X-Men: Days of Future Past, Godzilla had a 66% drop. At the end of its domestic run, Godzilla grossed $200.7 million in North America, the lowest total ever for a movie that opened above $90 million. Godzilla finished as the 13th highest-grossing film of 2014 in North America. By comparison, the 1998 Godzilla finished with a domestic total of $136.3 million through an eight-week theatrical run, equivalent to $198 million in 2014.
Also on May 15, Godzilla opened in every major market internationally, with the exception of China and Japan, grossing $103.4 million, giving it a worldwide opening weekend of nearly $200 million. On June 13, the film opened in China and grossed $10.9 million for the largest opening day in that country for 2014, and would open with $37 million for the weekend. The film finished with $77.6 million as the 18th highest-grossing film in that country for the year. On July 25, Godzilla finally opened in Japan, where it opened at number one and grossed $6.95 million for the weekend, the second-highest opening weekend in Japan of any foreign film in 2014. Considered a "robust debut", this helped push the films global box office to over $500 million. It eventually finished with just shy of $30 million in Japan, making it the 11th highest-grossing film in that country for the year. Godzilla finished its global run in theaters with $328 million from international markets, giving it a worldwide total of $529 million and making it the 14th highest-grossing film of 2014 worldwide. Calculating in all expenses, Deadline Hollywood estimated that the film made a profit of $52.477 million.
8.2. Reception Critical reception
Godzilla received generally positive reviews from critics. On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 319 reviews, with an average score of 6.65/10. The sites critical consensus states: "With just enough human drama to anchor the sweeping spectacle of giant monsters smashing everything in sight, Gareth Edwards Godzilla satisfyingly restores the franchises fire-breathing glory." On Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average based on selected reviews, the film has a score of 62 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". CinemaScore reported that audiences gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
Alex Pappademas of Grantland called the film "the first truly joyous popcorn action movie of the season" and praised Edwards restrained direction, stating, "I admired Edwards’s restraint, a quality I’m not accustomed to admiring in $160 million summer action movies." Richard Roeper stated, "Edwards and his team produce consistently stunning visuals", but admitted that he "would have liked to see more of Godzilla" but stated that the film is "leaps and bounds ahead of the 1998 bomb" and awarded the film a B+ rating.
Tom Russo of the Boston Globe felt the film "is an uneven spectacle that can’t sustain its solid first-half character moments" but did state the film "can also flash a surprising, often clever sense of legacy, and is intermittently capable of thrilling us" and praised the films special effects, stating, "Crafted with motion-capture technology and an aesthetic eye toward tradition, Godzilla is convincingly rendered here, making for some genuinely electrifying moments" but did feel that the third acts battle was "overkill" and that the principal characters were lackluster, stating the film "needs performances that ground it - and they’re just not coming from Taylor-Johnson, Watanabe, and the rest of the thespian soldiers and flabbergasted biologists who dominate the second hour" and concluded by stating, "Godzilla, Watanabe breathlessly hypothesizes, is here to restore balance. The film could do with a little of that itself, thrills notwithstanding."
Stephanie Zacharek of the Village Voice stated "Gareth Edwardss new desecration of his Godzilla legend should make him Godzilla want to eat Hollywood for lunch", feeling that the film "hits all the wrong beats" but did praise Juliette Binoche and Bryan Cranstons performances, stating, "Their few brief scenes, particularly Cranstons, make for the best dramatic moments in the movie" and also praised Alexandre Desplats score and the scenes involving Godzilla but stated "its just one tiny beat in an otherwise way-too-big movie that, weirdly, doesnt give us enough of the one big guy we showed up to see in the first place" and concluded by stating, Godzilla is one of those generic, omnipresent blockbusters thats undone by the very spectacle it strives to dazzle us with: Everything is so gargantuan, so momentous, that nothing has any weight."
A. O. Scott of the New York Times stated the film "is at once bloated and efficient, executed with tremendous discipline and intelligence and conceived with not too much of either" and found that "it surpasses Roland Emmerich’s 1998 Hollywood version" and praised the films aftermath destruction scenes, stating, "the vistas of trampled cityscapes are frequently more memorable and always more haunting than the chaotic scenes of smashing and flooding that clutter the film’s climax" but felt the characterization was "thin" and the performances were "squandered" but felt that the "soul" of the film "dwells with the monsters". Matt Zoller Seitz highly praised the films direction and craftsmanship, giving it three and a half out of four stars and stating that Godzilla represents some sort of high water mark pun intended in Hollywoods nearly forty year crusade to turn once-disreputable genre films into pop art that demands our contemplation, if only because of the wit and skill that its army of technicians lavished on each frame. The long shots of kaiju grappling in ruined cities are gloomily magnificent, like oil paintings of Biblical miracles."
Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune awarded the film three and a half stars, finding that the film "makes up" for the 1998 version and praised Edwards, stating, "The director thinks visually, which sounds redundant until you realize how many monster movies are flat, effects-dependent factory jobs. Edwards knows how to use great heights for great effect." Phillips also praised the films build-up, stating, "director Gareth Edwards lays the expository groundwork nicely and hands the audience what it craves in the second half" and defended the amount of screen-time Godzilla received, stating, "Is there enough Godzilla in Godzilla? Folks, there is. There is just enough." David Blaustein of ABC News Radio called the film "very good, but not great", criticizing the film for not having enough screen-time for Godzilla, stating, "There’s not enough Godzilla. When the monster’s away, the movie drags. It’s clear what Edwards and company are trying to do here. i.e. less is more. The issue is, this Godzilla is so much fun to watch, we never want it leave the screen and when he/she/its not there, its a letdown." Regardless, Blaustein stated that the films finale, "more or less, makes it all worth the wait", and awarded the film three-and-a-half stars out of five.
Matt Zoller Seitz, in his positive review of the film, observed how "ts less interested in a giant monsters rampage than in what it might feel like to be a tiny human watching it close up, or far away, or on TV. It is not about Godzilla or the beasts he fights. its a combination epic horror film and parable of nature in revolt, filled with odd ellipses and surprising but appropriate storytelling choices, such as an early monster duel that plays out mainly on CNN." In regards to the films shallow characters, "the film is inclined to see them as representatives of an endangered species rather than complex individuals". He also noted in the film "a touch of Terrence Malicks Transcendentalist humility in how the director lavishes attention on meadows and forests and rolling waves", with the films final shot evoking The Thin Red Line 1998.
Japanese critics and journalists have praised the film for putting "more of an effort to honor the spirit and visual style of the Japanese series" but criticized the film for "complicating the anti-war, anti-nuclear sensibility" and "lack of nerve on the part of the filmmakers to say anything substantial about nuclear weapons or nuclear energy". However, Godzilla illustrator Yuji Kaida called the film "a real kaijū eiga monster movie that honored the original in that Godzilla was presented as a force beyond human understanding that maintained the Earth’s natural balance".
8.3. Reception Analysis
William Tsutsui, author of Godzilla on My Mind, discussed the new film in an article in Foreign Affairs magazine. "This latest reboot brings to the screen a Godzilla that remains true to the spirit of the Japanese series while creating a very American, very twenty-first-century monster." He noted that the film "depicts gluttony for food and sex in ways that were never a feature of Japanese productions. There are far more overt displays of affection in the first 15 minutes of the 2014 Godzilla than in the entire Japanese franchise, which totaled one very chaste kiss over 50 years." He also noted that the film is more violent than the Japanese series, showing more carnage. The Godzilla character, in its heroism, is reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s Japanese Godzilla, but not anthropomorphized like those. Also, the identity of the character as Japanese is lost: "In the 28 films made by Toho, Godzilla is unmistakably identified as one of wareware Nihonjin we Japanese. After liberating San Francisco from the spawning MUTOs, Godzilla is thus crowned as a defender of the United States."
Ed Godziszewski author of The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Godzilla felt that the film did not provide much social commentary like previous Godzilla films, stating, "The 2014 film paid superficial lip service at best to the nuclear issue, but really theres almost nothing of substance there. Rather than offering caution about nuclear energy, the new film almost gives you the idea that nuclear weapons are actually the answer to everything". Godziszewski did iterate that he did enjoy the film and praised the monster battles for being choreographed closer to the original Toho films than how Pacific Rim was choreographed.
David Kalat author of A Critical History and Filmography of Tohos Godzilla Series felt that Edwards figured out a successful "modern American context" for the film in supporting American troops, stating, "Edwards Godzilla 2014 takes that concept and weaponizes it: were used to seeing Godzilla movies where the military fails because theyre stupid, but seeing them fail but be heroic while failing is new. Its also something the culture needs - and its the kind of heretical idea thats otherwise hard to dramatize in pop culture, just like the original Godzillas anti-American stance was so potent in 1954." However, Kalat criticized the film for giving Godzilla "almost no screen-time".
In October 2015, Legendary announced plans to unite Godzilla and King Kong in a film titled Godzilla vs. Kong, set for a 2020 release date. Legendary plans to create a shared cinematic franchise "centered around Monarch" the secret government agency which debuted in 2014s Godzilla and that "brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new".
Prior to announcing a shared cinematic universe between Godzilla and King Kong, Legendary originally intended to produce a trilogy with Gareth Edwards attached to direct the sequels, however, Edwards left the sequel in May 2016 to work on smaller scale projects. After Edwards left the project, Michael Dougherty, who had been hired in October 2016 to write the script with Zach Shields, was announced as the director for Godzilla: King of the Monsters in January 2017. Principal photography began in June 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia and ended in September 2017. The film was released on May 31, 2019, in 2D, 3D, and select IMAX worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, except in Japan where it was distributed by Toho.
Godzilla vs. Kong was announced in October 2015. The films writers room was assembled in March 2017 and Adam Wingard was announced as the director in May 2017. Principal photography began in November 2018 in Hawaii and Australia and concluded in April 2019. Godzilla vs. Kong is scheduled to be released on November 20, 2020 in 2D, 3D, and IMAX by Warner Bros. Pictures, except in Japan where it will be distributed by Toho.