Toho Studios goes after 'unauthorized' Godzilla movie

Contributed by
Jul 4, 2015, 2:19 PM EDT (Updated)

The studio that created the giant, Japan-leveling monster is mad as hell over another film about ... a giant, Japan-leveling monster.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Japanese studio Toho -- which created Godzilla in 1954 -- is suing a company called Voltage Pictures over a planned movie called Colossal, which Voltage is shopping to distributors at the Cannes film festival in France.

The movie is set to star Anne Hathaway as a woman who discovers she has a bizarre psychic connection to a massive creature that is rampaging through Tokyo thousands of miles away. Toho, in its lawsuit, has claimed that the filmmakers "are brazenly producing, advertising, and selling an unauthorized Godzilla film of their own."

The studio may frankly have some ammo to back up its claim. Colossal has been described as "Godzilla meets Being John Malkovich," while writer/director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes) said this in an August 2014 interview:

"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." 

Toho has also alleged that Voltage sent an email to potential investors and distributors earlier this month in which it actually used a photo from the American Godzilla film that came out last year. A document described as "Director's Notes" also allegedly used stills from other Toho movies.

Toho's suit stated that the Director's Notes "also make clear that Defendants have not only taken the Godzilla Character as their own, but that they also intend to use the Godzilla Character in precisely the same way that Toho used the character in its initial film -- attacking Tokyo."

The studio is suing for various copyright, competition and trademark infringements, but more importantly, it wants to stop Colossal from ever going before the cameras. Toho's lawyers called the proposed film "about as brazen an act of infringement as we've encountered."

You can see the lawsuit here, complete with the pictures, and we have to say that we don't understand what Voltage and Vigalondo -- a good filmmaker, by the way -- are attempting to do here. Why would you use another studio's copyrighted images to sell a film that already sounds like it's ripping off that studio's property? We'll wait for Voltage and the director to respond, but in the meantime, take a look yourself and voice your opinion below.

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