Presumably over the objections of the big irradiated guy himself—he prefers a more “stomp on ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out” approach to problem-solving—Toho, the Japanese film company that owns the rights to Godzilla, is suing the producers of an upcoming kaiju movie. They charge that the people behind Colossal, in which Anne Hathaway plays a New York woman who travels to Tokyo after discovering she has with a psychic link to the beast, are “brazenly producing, advertising, and selling an unauthorized Godzilla film of their own.”
The charges come from a pitch email for the film that was sent to potential distributors and investors and included an image from Gareth Edwards’ 2013 Godzilla reboot as well as the phrase, “Tokyo is under attack by Godzilla and a giant robot.”
Also included in the complaint is a packet of directors’ notes and a poster, both of which include Godzilla’s distinctive reptilian visage and are being distributed at Cannes:
Director and now co-defendant Nacho Vigalondo may have also unwittingly contributed to the demise of his own film in an interview given last year where he said, “It’s going to be the cheapest Godzilla movie ever, I promise. It’s going to be a serious Godzilla movie but I’ve got an idea that’s going to make it so cheap that you will feel betrayed.” Production company Voltage Pictures doesn’t look very good in all of this either, considering the company filed mass lawsuits against people who illegally appropriated its intellectual property by downloading movies in 2010 and 2013.
According to its complaint—filed in California federal court earlier today—Toho wants production on Colossal stopped immediately, along with unspecified damages.
Colossal isn’t scheduled to begin production until September, so there presumably aren’t any production stills to include in initial promotional materials. And “Godzilla” is kind of like “Kleenex”—technically a brand name, but used as shorthand for a whole range of products/nuclear metaphors. But isn’t there some sort of concept art they could be using in promotional materials instead of stills of a copyrighted character from a recent movie? Clearly, not a lot of thought went into that promotional email (note that Vigalondo’s name is also spelled incorrectly), but the Photoshopped poster and director’s notes show forethought and intent. There’s probably an opening in Voltage Pictures’ marketing department, is what we’re saying.