Theatrical release poster for Godzilla (1954)
|No. of films||34|
|First film||Godzilla (1954)|
|Latest film||Godzilla: The Planet Eater (2018)|
The Godzilla (ゴジラ Gojira) franchise is a media franchise featuring Godzilla, owned and created by Toho. It is recognized by Guinness World Records to be the longest continuously running movie franchise, having been in on-going production from 1954 to the present day, with several hiatuses of varying lengths. The film franchise consists of 34 films, 32 produced by Toho and 3 Hollywood films.
The first film, Godzilla, was directed by Ishirō Honda and released by Toho in 1954 and became an influential classic of the genre. It featured political and social undertones relevant to Japan at the time. The original introduced an acclaimed music score by Akira Ifukube, which was reused in many of the later films. The original also introduced the work of special effects master Eiji Tsuburaya, who used miniatures and "suitmation" to convey the large scale of the monster and its destruction. For its North American release, the film was reworked as an adaptation and released in 1956 as Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. The adaptation featured new footage with Raymond Burr edited together with the original Japanese footage.
Toho was inspired to make the original Godzilla after the commercial success of the 1952 re-release of King Kong and success of The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953). The success of the Godzilla series itself would go on to inspire other monster films worldwide. The popularity of the films has led to Godzilla being featured in other media, such as television, music, literature, and video games. Godzilla has been one of the most recognizable symbols in Japanese pop culture worldwide, remains a well-known facet of Japanese films and was one of the first examples of the popular kaiju and tokusatsu subgenres in Japanese entertainment.
The tone and themes vary per film. Several of the films have political themes, others have dark tones, complex internal mythology, or are simple action movies featuring aliens or other monsters, while others have simpler themes accessible to children. Godzilla's role varies from purely a destructive force to an ally of humans, or a protector of Japanese values, or a hero to children. The name Godzilla is a romanization of the original Japanese name Gojira—which is a combination of two Japanese words: gorira (ゴリラ), "gorilla", and kujira (クジラ), "whale". The word alludes to the size, power and aquatic origin of Godzilla. As developed by Toho, the monster is an offshoot of the combination of radioactivity and ancient dinosaur-like creatures, indestructible and possessing special powers (see Godzilla characteristics).
- 1 History
- 2 Filmography
- 3 Box office and reception
- 4 Other media
- 5 Cultural impact
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
The Godzilla film series is broken into several (different) eras reflecting a characteristic style and corresponding to the same eras used to classify all kaiju eiga (monster movies) in Japan. The first two eras refer to the Japanese emperor during production: the Shōwa era and the Heisei era. The third is called the Millennium era as the emperor (Heisei) is the same but these films are considered to have a different style and storyline than the Heisei era.
Over the series history, the films have reflected the social and political climate in Japan. In the original film, Godzilla was an allegory for the effects of the hydrogen bomb, and the consequences that such weapons might have on earth. The radioactive contamination of the Japanese fishing boat Daigo Fukuryū Maru through the United States' Castle Bravo thermonuclear device test on Bikini Atoll on March 1, 1954, led to much press coverage in Japan preceding the release of the first movie in 1954. The Heisei and Millennium series have largely continued this concept.
Shōwa period (1954–1975)
The initial series of movies is named for the Shōwa period in Japan (as all of these films were produced before the "Shōwa Emperor" Hirohito's death in 1989). This Shōwa timeline spanned from 1954, with Godzilla, to 1975, with Terror of Mechagodzilla. With the exceptions of Godzilla, Godzilla Raids Again, Mothra vs. Godzilla and Terror of Mechagodzilla, much of the Shōwa series monster-action was intentionally made comical and laughable for children, with Godzilla frequently engaged in clownish slapstick wrestling with other monsters. Starting with Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla began evolving into a friendlier, more playful antihero (this transition was complete by Son of Godzilla, where it is shown as a good character), and as years went by, it evolved into an anthropomorphic superhero. Ghidorah the Three-Headed Monster was also significant for introducing Godzilla's arch-enemy and the main antagonist of the movie series, King Ghidorah. The films Son of Godzilla and All Monsters Attack were aimed at youthful audiences, featuring the appearance of Godzilla's son, Minilla. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was notable for introducing Godzilla's robotic arch-enemy and secondary villain of the movie series Mechagodzilla. The Shōwa period tied loosely in to a number of Toho-produced films in which Godzilla himself did not appear and consequently saw the addition of many monsters into the Godzilla continuity, three of which (Mothra, Rodan and Varan) originated in their own solo movies and another five (Anguirus, Kumonga, Baragon, Manda and Gorosaurus) appeared in their first films as either antagonistic or secondary characters.
Haruo Nakajima mainly portrayed Godzilla since 1954 until his retirement in 1972. However, other stunt actors portrayed the character in his absence, such as Katsumi Tezuka, Yū Sekida, Ryosaku Takasugi, Seiji Onaka, Shinji Takagi, Isao Zushi, and Toru Kawai. Eiji Tsuburaya directed the special effects for the first six films of the series. His protege Sadamasa Arikawa took over the effects work for the next three films (with Tsuburaya supervising), while Teruyoshi Nakano directed the special effects for the last six films of the series.
Heisei period (1984–1995)
Toho rebooted the series in 1984 with The Return of Godzilla, starting the second era of Godzilla films, known as the Heisei series. The Return of Godzilla serves as a direct sequel to the original 1954 film and ignores the subsequent events of the Showa era. The Return of Godzilla was released in 1984, five years before the new emperor, but is considered part of this era, as it is a direct predecessor to Godzilla vs. Biollante (1989), which came out in the first year of the new emperor's reign.
The Heisei films are set in a single timeline, with each film providing continuity to the other films, and brings Godzilla back as a destructive force of nature that is feared by humans. The biological nature and science behind Godzilla became a much more discussed issue in the films, showing the increased focus on the moral aspects of genetics. Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah gave the first concrete birth story for Godzilla, featuring a "Godzillasaurus" dinosaur-like creature that was mutated by nuclear radiation into Godzilla. Godzilla was portrayed by Kenpachiro Satsuma for the Heisei films while the special effects were directed by Koichi Kawakita, with the exception of The Return of Godzilla, for which the effects were directed by Teruyoshi Nakano.
Millennium period (1999–2004)
Toho rebooted the franchise for a second time, with the 1999 film Godzilla 2000: Millennium, starting the third era of Godzilla films, known as the Millennium series. The Millennium series is treated similarly to an anthology series where each film, with the exception of Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla and Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S. (which are a series all their own), is set in its own timeline and follows-up on the events of the original 1954 film, but ignores the events of the Shōwa and Heisei eras.
After the release of 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, marking the 50th anniversary of the Godzilla film franchise, Toho decided to put the series on hiatus for another ten years. Toho also demolished the water stage on its lot used in numerous Godzilla, kaiju and tokusatsu films. Yoshimitsu Banno, who had directed 1971's Godzilla vs. Hedorah, secured the rights from Toho to make an IMAX 3D short film production, based on a story similar to his Hedorah film. This project eventually led to the development of Legendary's Godzilla.
Tsutomu Kitagawa portrayed Godzilla for the majority of the Millennium films, with the exception of Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, in which Godzilla was portrayed by Mizuho Yoshida. Unlike the Showa and later Heisei films, the special effects for the Millennium films were directed by multiple effects directors such as Kenji Suzuki (Godzilla 2000, Godzilla vs. Megaguirus), Makoto Kamiya (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack), Yuichi Kikuchi (Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla), and Eiichi Asada (Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S., Godzilla: Final Wars).
Current period (2016–present)
In December 2014, Toho announced plans for a new Godzilla film of their own for a 2016 release. The film is intended to be Toho's own reboot of the Godzilla franchise and is co-directed by Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi (both who collaborated on the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion), with the screenplay written by Anno and the special effects directed by Higuchi. Principal photography began on September and ended in October with the special effects work following in November that year. Shin Godzilla was released in Japan on July 29, 2016 in IMAX, 4DX, and MX4D to positive reviews and was a box office success.
In August 2016, Toho announced plans for a trilogy of anime Godzilla films with Polygon Pictures animating the films and Netflix distributing the trilogy worldwide, except in Japan where each film will be given a theatrical release by Toho. The first film, titled Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters, was released on November 17, 2017. The second film, titled Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle, was released on May 18, 2018. The third and final film in the trilogy, titled Godzilla: The Planet Eater, was released on November 9, 2018.
In January 2018, Toho announced its plans to invest 15 billion yen ($135 million) for the next three years beginning in 2019 to co-produce content with Hollywood and Chinese studios who have licensed Toho's properties, such as Godzilla, Your Name, and Pokémon. Toho will invest 25% in production costs and will earn a higher share in revenue and manage creators rights so their creative input will be shown in each work.
In May 2018, Toho’s Chief Godzilla Officer Keiji Ota revealed that a sequel to Shin Godzilla will not happen but revealed plans for a "World of Godzilla", a shared cinematic universe between Godzilla and other Toho monsters after 2021. Ota cited the Marvel Cinematic Universe as an influence, with plans to release a new film every one to two years. Ota stated:
"After 2021, we’re thinking of a potential strategy that [releases] Godzilla movies uninterrupted at a rate of every 2 years, although there is a preference for a yearly pace as well. The future of the series and its forwarding developments are very conscious of the method of "shared universe". Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, etc. could all share a single world view much like a Marvel movie where Iron Man and the Hulk can crossover with each other. It is said that each movie can be a possible film production where any one of them could lead a film of their own as the titular character." – Keiji Ota, translated from Nikkei style.
In 1956, Jewell Enterprises Inc., licensed Godzilla and produced an "Americanized"[a] version of the film Godzilla, King of the Monsters!. The film utilized a majority of the footage from the Japanese original but a majority of the political themes and social commentaries were removed, resulting in 30 minutes of footage from the Japanese original replaced with new scenes shot exclusively for the film featuring Raymond Burr interacting with Japanese actors and look-alikes to make it seem like Burr was a part of the original Japanese production. In addition, sound-effects and soundtracks were tweaked and some dialogue was dubbed into English. Similar "Americanizations" occurred for the North American releases of King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla 1985, the latter which included Burr reprising the role of American journalist Steve Martin.
In 1957, producer Harry Rybnick attempted to produce a Hollywood remake of Godzilla Raids Again titled The Volcano Monsters, however, funding from AB-PT Pictures collapsed after the company closed down and Godzilla Raids Again was instead dubbed in English and released in 1959 by Warner Bros. as Gigantis the Fire Monster.
In the 1980s, filmmaker Steve Miner pitched his idea for an American 3D production of Godzilla to Toho, with story boards by William Stout and a script written by Fred Dekker, titled Godzilla: King of the Monsters in 3D which featured Godzilla destroying San Francisco in an attempt to find its only offspring. Various studios and producers showed interest in the project but passed it over due to high budget concerns. The film would have featured a full scale animatronic Godzilla head built by Rick Baker, stop motion animation executed by David W. Allen, additional storyboards by Doug Wildey, an articulated stop motion Godzilla figure created by Stephen Czerkas, and the production design overseen by William Stout.
TriStar Pictures (1998)
In October 1992, TriStar Pictures acquired the rights from Toho with plans to produce a trilogy. Director Jan de Bont and writers Terry Rossio and Ted Eliott developed a script that had Godzilla battling a shape-shifting alien called "the Gryphon". De Bont later left the project after budget disagreements with the studio. Roland Emmerich was hired to direct and co-write a new script with producer Dean Devlin.
Godzilla was released on May 20, 1998 to negative reviews from critics and fans and was a box office success, grossing $136 million domestically and $379 million worldwide, however, it was considered a box office disappointment. Planned sequels were cancelled and an animated series was produced instead. TriStar let the license expire in 2003. In 2004, Toho began trademarking new iterations of TriStar's Godzilla as "Zilla", with only the incarnations from the 1998 film and animated show retaining the Godzilla copyright/trademark.
Legendary Pictures (2014–present)
In 2004, director Yoshimitsu Banno acquired permission from Toho to produce a short IMAX Godzilla film. In 2009, the project was turned over to Legendary Pictures to be redeveloped as a feature film reboot. Announced in March 2010, the film was co-produced with Warner Bros. Pictures and was directed by Gareth Edwards.
Godzilla was released on May 16, 2014 to positive reviews from critics and fans and was a box office success, grossing $200 million domestically and $529 million worldwide. The film's success prompted Toho to produce a reboot of their own and Legendary to proceed with sequels and a shared cinematic franchise, with Godzilla: King of the Monsters set to be released on May 31, 2019, and Godzilla vs. Kong set to be released on May 22, 2020.
From 1954 through 2017, there have been 32 Godzilla films produced by Toho in Japan. There have been several American productions: adaptations including Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, King Kong vs. Godzilla and Godzilla 1985, and three Hollywood productions: Godzilla (1998) produced by TriStar Pictures, and Godzilla (2014) and Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) produced by Legendary Entertainment in partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures.
|#||Title||Year||Director(s)||Effects director||Monster co-star(s)||Current U.S. licenses|
|Shōwa period (1954–1975)|
|1||1954||Ishirō Honda||Eiji Tsuburaya||None||The Criterion Collection[Note 1]|
|3||King Kong vs. Godzilla||1962||Ishirō Honda||King Kong, Oodako||Universal Pictures Home Entertainment|
|4||1964||Mothra||The Criterion Collection|
|5||King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra|
|6||1965||King Ghidorah, Rodan|
|7||1966||Jun Fukuda||Sadamasa Arikawa||Ebirah, Mothra, Ookondoru||Kraken Releasing|
|8||Son of Godzilla||1967||Minilla, Kumonga, Kamacuras||The Criterion Collection|
|9||Destroy All Monsters||1968||Ishirō Honda||King Ghidorah, Rodan, Mothra, Anguirus, Minilla, Kumonga, Manda, Gorosaurus, Baragon, Varan|
|10||1969||Ishirō Honda||Gabara, Minilla|
|11||1971||Yoshimitsu Banno||Teruyoshi Nakano||Hedorah||Kraken Releasing|
|12||1972||Jun Fukuda||Gigan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus|
|13||Godzilla vs. Megalon||1973||Megalon, Jet Jaguar, Gigan, Rodan, Anguirus||The Criterion Collection|
|14||1974||Mechagodzilla, King Caesar, Anguirus|
|15||1975||Ishirō Honda||Mechagodzilla II, Titanosaurus|
|Heisei period (1984–1995)|
|16||1984||Koji Hashimoto||Teruyoshi Nakano||Giant Sea Lice||Kraken Releasing|
|17||Godzilla vs. Biollante||1989||Kazuki Ōmori||Koichi Kawakita||Biollante||Echo Bridge Home Entertainment|
|18||Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah||1991||King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah, Dorats, Godzillasaurus||Sony Pictures Home Entertainment|
|19||1992||Takao Okawara||Mothra, Battra|
|20||1993||Mechagodzilla, Super Mechagodzilla, Rodan, Fire Rodan, Baby Godzilla|
|21||Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla||1994||Kensho Yamashita||SpaceGodzilla, Moguera, Fairy Mothra, Little Godzilla|
|22||1995||Takao Okawara||Destoroyah, Godzilla Junior|
|Millennium period (1999–2004)|
|23||1999||Takao Okawara||Kenji Suzuki||Orga, Millennian||Sony Pictures Home Entertainment|
|24||2000||Masaaki Tezuka||Megaguirus, Meganulon, Meganula|
|25||2001||Shusuke Kaneko||Makoto Kamiya||King Ghidorah, Mothra, Baragon|
|26||2002||Masaaki Tezuka||Yûichi Kikuchi||Mechagodzilla, Mothra*, Gaira*|
|27||2003||Eiichi Asada||Mechagodzilla, Mothra, Kamoebas|
|28||Godzilla: Final Wars||2004||Ryuhei Kitamura||Monster X, Keizer Ghidorah, Zilla, Rodan, Mothra, Gigan, King Caesar, Anguirus, Minilla, Kumonga, Kamacuras, Manda, Hedorah, Ebirah, Gezora*, Varan*, Baragon*, Gaira*, Titanosaurus*, Megaguirus*|
|Current period (2016–present)|
|N/A||Servum, Dogora, Dagahra, Orga, Kamacuras, Anguirus, Rodan, Mechagodzilla||Netflix|
|31||Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle||2018||Mechagodzilla City, Servum, Vulture|
|32||Godzilla: The Planet Eater||King Ghidorah|
* Denotes a monster that appears only in stock footage.
|#||Title||Year||Director(s)||Effects director||Monster co-star(s)||Current U.S. licenses|
|1||Godzilla, King of the Monsters!||1956||Ishirō Honda
Terry O. Morse
|Eiji Tsuburaya||None||DreamWorks Classics|
The Criterion Collection
|2||King Kong vs. Godzilla||1963||Ishirō Honda
|King Kong, Oodako||Universal Pictures Home Entertainment|
|3||Godzilla 1985||1985||Koji Hashimoto
|Teruyoshi Nakano||Giant Sea Lice||Anchor Bay|
|#||Title||Year||Director(s)||Effects director||Monster co-star(s)||Current U.S. licenses|
|1||Godzilla||1998||Roland Emmerich||Volker Engel||Baby Godzillas||Sony Pictures Home Entertainment|
|1||Godzilla||2014||Gareth Edwards||Jim Rygiel||MUTOs (male and female)||Warner Bros.|
|2||Godzilla: King of the Monsters||2019||Michael Dougherty||Guillaume Rocheron||Rodan, Mothra, King Ghidorah|
|3||Godzilla vs. Kong||2020||Adam Wingard||John “DJ” DesJardin||King Kong|
In 1976, Italian director Luigi Cozzi intended to re-release Godzilla in Italy. Facing resistance from exhibitors to showing a black and white film, Cozzi instead licensed a negative of Godzilla, King of the Monsters from Toho and created a new movie in color, adding lots of stock footage of graphic death and destruction and short scenes from newsreel footage from World War II, which he released as Godzilla in 1977. The film was colorized using a process called Spectrorama 70, where color gels are put on the original black and white film, becoming one of the first black and white movies to be colorized. Dialogue was dubbed into Italian and new music was added. After the initial Italian run, the negative became Toho's property and prints have only been exhibited in Italy. Italian firm Yamato Video at one time intended to release the colorized version on a double DVD along with the original Godzilla.
In 2007, a CGI Godzilla appeared in the Toho slice of life movie Always Zoku Sanchōme no Yūhi (Always: Sunset on Third Street 2). In an imaginary sequence, Godzilla destroys part of 1959 Tokyo, with one of the main protagonists getting angry that Godzilla damaged his car showroom. The making of the sequence was kept a secret. Godzilla has been referenced and has briefly appeared in several other films. Godzilla guest starred in the show Crayon Shin-chan as an antagonist. Godzilla also appears in cave paintings (alongside Rodan, Mothra and King Ghidorah) in a post-credits scene in Kong: Skull Island.
Box office and reception
Box office performance
Below is a chart listing the number of tickets sold for each Godzilla film in Japan including the imported Hollywood films. The films are listed from the most attended to the least attended. Almost all of the 1960s films were reissued, so the lifetime number of tickets sold is listed with the initial release ticket numbers mentioned in notes.
By 2016, the series had sold more than 100 million tickets at the Japanese box office. It was the highest-grossing film franchise in Japan, up until it was surpassed by the anime film series Doraemon in 2013.
|#||Film||Year||Ticket sales (Japan)||Gross in Japan||Gross in the U.S.||Gross in other regions|
|1||King Kong vs. Godzilla||1962||12,550,000[b]||¥430,000,000||$2,700,000|
|2||Godzilla a.k.a. Godzilla, King of the Monsters!||1954||9,610,000||¥160,000,000||$2,491,389[c]|
|3||Godzilla Raids Again||1955||8,340,000||¥170,000,000|
|5||Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster||1964||5,410,000[d]||¥390,000,000||$1,300,000|
|6||Godzilla vs. Mothra||1992||4,200,000||¥2,220,000,000|
|7||Godzilla vs. Destoroyah||1995||4,000,000||¥2,000,000,000|
|9||Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II||1993||3,800,000||¥1,870,000,000|
|10||Invasion of Astro-Monster||1965||5,130,000[e]||¥410,000,000||$3,000,000|
|11||Mothra vs. Godzilla||1964||7,200,000[f]||¥2,660,000,000[g]|
|12||Ebirah, Horror of the Deep||1966||4,210,000[h]||¥410,000,000|
|13||Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla||1994||3,400,000||¥1,650,000,000|
|14||The Return of Godzilla a.k.a. Godzilla 1985||1984||3,200,000||¥2,550,000,000||$4,116,395|
|15||Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah||1991||2,700,000||¥1,450,000,000|
|16||Destroy All Monsters||1968||2,580,000||¥230,000,000|
|17||Son of Godzilla||1967||3,090,000[i]||¥260,000,000|
|18||Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack||2001||2,400,000||¥2,710,000,000|
|20||Godzilla vs. Biollante||1989||2,010,000||¥1,040,000,000|
|21||Godzilla 2000: Millennium||1999||2,000,000||¥1,650,000,000||$10,037,390||$2,886,673|
|22||Godzilla vs. Gigan||1972||1,780,000||¥320,000,000|
|23||Godzilla vs. Hedorah||1971||1,740,000||¥300,000,000|
|24||Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla||2002||1,700,000||¥1,910,000,000|
|25||All Monsters Attack||1969||1,480,000||¥260,000,000|
|26||Godzilla vs. Megaguirus||2000||1,350,000||¥1,200,000,000|
|27||Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla||1974||1,330,000||¥370,000,000|
|28||Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S.||2003||1,100,000||¥1,300,000,000|
|29||Godzilla: Final Wars||2004||1,000,000||¥1,260,000,000||$33,462|
|30||Godzilla vs. Megalon||1973||980,000||¥220,000,000|
|31||Terror of Mechagodzilla||1975||970,000||¥330,000,000|
|32||Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters||2017||170,000||¥500,000,000|
|$1,423,311,961 (total worldwide gross)|
- 1 American films
This table possibly contains original research. (March 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Note: Multiple films do not have a score on Rotten Tomatoes, but do have reviews, which have been converted to a score, the same way that Rotten Tomatoes calculates scores.
|93% (70 reviews)||78||7.5||86|
|83% (70 reviews)||60||6.6|
|67% (3 reviews)||6|
|33% (12 reviews)||5.9|
|90% (10 reviews)||6.5|
|80% (5 reviews)||6.7|
|50% (2 reviews)||6.4|
|33% (3 reviews)||5.3|
|63% (8 reviews)||5.2|
|71% (7 reviews)||6.6|
|29% (7 reviews)||3.9|
|64% (11 reviews)||6|
|100% (1 review)||5.7|
|43% (7 reviews)||4.5|
|67% (6 reviews)||6.4|
|100% (2 reviews)||6.2|
|13% (8 reviews)||6.2|
|67% (3 reviews)||6.6|
|20% (5 reviews)||6.6|
|67% (6 reviews)||6.2|
|67% (3 reviews)||6.6|
|25% (4 reviews)||5.9|
|16% (74 reviews)||32||5.3||24|
|57% (69 reviews)||41||6.1||49|
|50% (14 reviews)||7.2|
|0% (1 review)||6.8|
|100% (2 reviews)||6.6|
|40% (10 reviews)||6.5|
|74% (296 reviews)||62||6.4||68|
|84% (61 reviews)||68||6.7||76|
|80% (5 reviews)||6|
This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
In Japan, Godzilla appeared in five out of 26 episodes of Toho's live-action Zone Fighter television program in 1973. Also in Japan, Godzilla (along with a plethora of other kaiju) appeared in an animated toy show called Godzilla Island that ran in 1997–1998.
Between 1994 and 1996, four 30 minute episode OVA's were created featuring Godzilla and various other kaiju from the Showa series of movies. The characters were depicted in a cute and friendly 'chibi'-esque anime style. The series of OVA's was titled Godzilland (ゴジランド Gojirando) and was aimed at primary school age children. This series featured Godzilla (the main protagonist), Gojirin (a pink female version of Godzilla), Minilla (Godzilla Junior), Mothra (and two Mothra larvae), King Ghidorah, Gigan, Hedorah (who is depicted as female in this adaptation), Moguera, Rodan, Baragon, Mechagodzilla, Anguirus and Ebirah. Godzilland was conceived initially to sell merchandise for the Godzilla franchise. The depictions of Godzilla and the various other kaiju were featured on stickers, toys, cards and board games.
The educational media company Gakken and the film studio Toho collaborated together to release two additional direct-to-video shorts of Godzilland which were both called Recommend! Godzilland (すすめ！ゴジランド Susume! Gojirando) in 1994. The main purpose of the first of the two video shorts was teaching Japanese children how to write in Hiragana (すすめ!ゴジランド～ひらがな – Susume! Gojirando ~ Hi-ra ga na) and the other was intended to teach Japanese children how to count. ( すすめ!ゴジランド～かず1・2・3 – Susume! Gojirando ~ kazu 1 2 3). Both specials featured all the characters who were in the Godzilland TV anime series. Two other TV specials were released two years later by the same company, but had different educational topics. These two specials were centered around math. The first of these two specials was called "すすめ！ゴジランド-ゴジラとあそぼう たしざん – Susume! Gojirando – Gojira to asobouta shizan and the second was titled "すすめ！ゴジランド ゴジラとあそぼう ひきざん – Susume! Gojirando Gojira to asobou hiki zan. These two specials centered around addition and subtraction. The episodes of Recommend! Godzilland was directed by Seinosuke Tanaka & Osamu Nakayama.
Hi-ra ga na and kazu 1 2 3 were the only two episodes to use both cel animation and digital ink and paint animation, but Gojira to asobouta shizan and Gojira to asobou hiki zan were the only episodes to fully use digital ink and paint animation.
Godzilland also included live action segments, which featured a human girl and an actor in a Godzilla suit. The segments would consist of Godzilla telling the girl about his childhood adventures.
The success of the Godzilla franchise has spawned two American Saturday morning cartoons: the first one is the collaboration series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and co-produced by Toho, Godzilla, and the second one produced by Sony Pictures Television, Godzilla: The Series, a cartoon sequel to the 1998 film. Both series feature a scientific investigative team who call upon Godzilla as an ally, as well as making several homages to the Shōwa films. Several antagonist monsters in both series have been inspired by extant Toho creations.
In 1991, two Godzilla films, Godzilla vs. Megalon and Godzilla versus the Sea Monster, were shown on the movie-mocking TV show Mystery Science Theater 3000.
A creature resembling Godzilla in parody, alongside another parody character resembling what appears to be a cross between Ultraman and Kamen Rider, appears in the television special Olive, The Other Reindeer during the song "Merry Christmas After All", during part of which Olive, Santa, and the other reindeer are shown passing through Tokyo delivering gifts. The two characters are shown to be friendly and taking part in the song and dance routine shown to include numerous figures, both real and fictional, in the show in various locations visited by the team as they make Santa's annual trip around the world.
Godzilla made an appearance in a Nike commercial in which Godzilla (this version was created at ILM) went one-on-one in an oversized basketball game with a giant version of the NBA star Charles Barkley.
Godzilla has been referenced multiple times in the American animated TV sitcom The Simpsons. Godzilla first appeared in the episode "Lisa on Ice" when Lisa imagines herself on Monster Island and is chased by various kaiju, including Godzilla. It has also been referenced in "Treehouse of Horror VI", "Mayored to the Mob" (where Godzilla can be seen signing autographs at Bi-Mon-Sci-Fi-Con), "Thirty Minutes over Tokyo" (in which the plane carrying the Simpson family is being attacked by Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra and Gamera), "Simpsons Tall Tales", "Treehouse of Horror XVI", "Homerazzi", "Wedding for Disaster", "The Real Housewives of Fat Tony", "Treehouse of Horror XXIV" and "Treehouse of Horror XXVI".
|1||Zone Fighter||1973||Red Spark, Jikiro, Destro-King, Dorora, Wargilgar, Spyler, King Ghidorah, Dragon King, Gilmaras, Gelderah, Spideros, Garoga Gorilla, Shadorah, Shipdoror, Gigan, Barakidon, Garaborg, Detragon, Zandora, Mogranda, Balgaras, Gundarguirus, Goram, Jellar, Kastom Jellar, Super Jikiro, Bakugon, Needlar, Kabutogirah, Grotogauros||Toho Video - DVD|
|2||Godzilla||1978–1979||Godzooky, Fire Bird, Earth Eater, Stone Guardians of Ramal, Megavolt Monsters, Seaweed Monsters, Energy Beast, Colossus, Cyclops Creature, Chimera, Minotaur, Magnetic Monster, Breeder Beast, Great Watchuka, Diplodocus, Time Dragon a.k.a. Allosaurus, Giant Squid, Giant Fly, Axor, Power Dragon, Giant Octopus, Cyborg Whale, Giant Venus' Flytrap, Giant Bees, Giant Dragonfly, Giant Ants, Giant Beetle, Giant Black Widow Spider, Moon Monster, Giant Magma Lizards, Macro-Spider Crab, Macro-Sea Turtle, Macro-Jellyfish, Macro-Tropical Fish, Macro-Sharks, Macro-Squids, Macro-Sea Horses, Macro-Electric Eels, Flying Macro-Manta Ray, Golden Guardians of Kyat-nor||Classic Media – DVD|
|3||Godzilla Island||1997–1998||Godzilla Junior, Mothra, Battra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Mecha-King Ghidorah, Mechagodzilla, Anguirus, Gigan, Hedorah, SpaceGodzilla, Destoroyah, Baragon, King Caesar, Moguera, Megalon, Gorosaurus, Kamacuras, Jet Jaguar, Dogora||Toho Video|
|4||Godzilla: The Series||1998–2000||Baby Godzilla, Crustaceous Rex, Giant Squids, Nanotech Creature, El Gusano Gigante, Cyber-Flies, Giant Rats, Cryptoclidus, Reptilians, Crackler, Queen Bee, Mutant Carnivorous Plants, Quetzalcoatl, Baby Quetzalcoatl, Ice Borers, Baby Ice Borers, Nessie a.k.a. the Loch Ness Monster, Baby Nessie, Giant Albino Yeti a.k.a. Robo-Yeti, King Cobra, Termite Queen, Giant Bat, Cyber-Godzilla, Chameleon, Bacillus, Giant Mutant Black Widow Spider, Techno-Sentient, Silver Hydra, D.N.A. Mimic, Lizard Slayers, Swamp Beast, Fire Monster, Norzzug the Iron Lion, Giant Mutant Hummingbirds, Medusa, Giant Gila Monster, Megapede a.k.a. Giant Cicada, Giant Centipede, Ts-eh-Go, Armillaria, Shrewster, Skeetera, D.R.A.G.M.A.s, Mutant Jellyfish, Komodithrax, Giant Turtle, Thorny Devil, Giant Armadillo, Desert Lizard, Desert Rat, Deep-Dweller, Rhinosaurus, Giant Water Beetle||Mill Creek Entertainment – DVD|
A game called Gojira-kun (which was previously to be titled Gojiraland) was released for the MSX in 1985. The art style is similar to the style used in the Godzilland OVA's. In 1990, Gojira-kun: Kaijū Daikōshin was released for the Game Boy. It featured sprites that were similar to the ones used in Gojira-kun. The game included cut scenes that depicted a different style to the rest of the game. In 1993, Super Godzilla 's Bagan, a newly created Toho-approved creation, was released for the SNES and featured original monsters that were video game-only kaiju in a former film/movie.
In 2007, Godzilla: Unleashed Krystalak and Obsidius, two newly created Toho-approved creations, was released for the Wii and DS and featured original monsters that were video game-only kaiju. Legendary's Godzilla was featured as a playable character in Bandai Namco's 2014 video game Godzilla as "Hollywood Godzilla". The widely popular video game Pokémon has made multiple references to Godzilla. The Dark/Rock type Pokémon Tyranitar is a direct reference to Godzilla. The Pokémon's appearance is a large green lizard monster-type creature who is characterised as an unstoppable force. In 2015–present, Gojira and Godzilla 2600 from Homebrew fangame was released for the NES and Atari 2600.
A Godzilla series of books was published by Random House during the late 1990s. The company created different series for different age groups, the Scott Ciencin series being aimed at preteens and the Marc Cerasini series being aimed at teens and young adults. Several manga have been derived from specific Godzilla films and both Marvel and Dark Horse have published Godzilla comic book series (1977–1979 and 1987–1999, respectively). In 2011, IDW Publishing started a new series Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters rebooting the Godzilla story. It was followed by two sequel series, Godzilla (published in book form as Godzilla: History's Greatest Monster) and Godzilla: Rulers of Earth, as well as seven five-issue miniseries to date.
To tie-in with the 2014 film, three books were published. Titan Books published a novelization of the movie in May 2014, written by Greg Cox. The graphic novel Godzilla: Awakening by Max Borenstein, Greg Borenstein and Eric Battle served as a prequel, and Godzilla: The Art of Destruction by Mark Cotta told about the making of the movie. Godzilla has been referenced in The Simpsons comics on three separate occasions. The character is featured in Bart Simpson's Guide to Life where it and other kaiju characters such as Minilla and King Ghidorah can be seen; it is featured in the comic "An Anime Among Us!'' and K-Bart. Godzilla is also featured in the comic Bart Simpson's Treehouse of Horror 7 where it and other kaiju can be seen referenced on the front cover. Godzilla has also been referenced in Marc Brown's Arthur adventure book called Arthur's April Fool where Francine told Arthur & Buster that they need to pick on someone their own size like Godzilla. Both Godzilla & Arthur became the two of the most popular characters to root for.
Godzilla: The Album, the soundtrack album of Godzilla (1998), sold 2.5 million copies worldwide. The album's lead single, "Come with Me" by Puff Daddy featuring Jimmy Page, sold a certified 2.025 million copies worldwide. Its Japan-exclusive single, "Lose Control" by Japanese rock band L'Arc-en-Ciel, sold 938,401 copies in Japan. Shin Godzilla Ongakushuu, the soundtrack album of Shin Godzilla (2016), sold 43,951 copies in Japan. Mars (1991), an album by Japanese rock duo B'z featuring a Godzilla-themed song, sold 1,730,500 copies in Japan.
Blue Öyster Cult released the song "Godzilla" in 1977. Artists such as Fu Manchu, Racer X and Double Experience have included cover versions of this song on their albums. American musician Michale Graves wrote a song titled "Godzilla" for his 2005 album, "Punk Rock Is Dead." The lyrics mention Godzilla and several on-screen adversaries such as Mothra, Hedorah, Destoroyah, and Gigan. The Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura has a song titled "Biotech is Godzilla" on its 1993 release "Chaos A.D." The French death metal band Gojira named the band after Godzilla's name in Japanese.
The song "Simon Says" by Pharoahe Monch is a hip-hop remix of the Godzilla March theme song. The instrumental version of this song was notably used in the 2000 film Charlie's Angels. The British band Lostprophets released a song called "We Are Godzilla, You Are Japan" on its second studio album Start Something. The American punk band Groovie Ghoulies released a song called "Hats off to You (Godzilla)" as a tribute to Godzilla. It is featured on the EP 'Freaks on Parade' released in 2002. The American artist Doctor Steel released a song called 'Atomic Superstar' about Godzilla on his album "People of Earth" in 2002. In 2003, the British singer Siouxsie Sioux released the album Hái! with her band The Creatures; the album had a Japanese theme with a song dedicated to the monster, simply titled "Godzilla!".
The record label Shifty issued compilation Destroysall with 15 songs from 15 bands, ranging from hardcore punk to doom-laden death metal. Not all songs are dedicated to Godzilla, but all do appear connected to monsters from Toho Studios. Fittingly, the disc was released on August 1, 2003, the 35th anniversary of the Japanese release of Destroy All Monsters. King Geedorah (a.k.a. MF DOOM) released Take Me to Your Leader, a hip-hop album featuring guests from the group Monsta Island Czars, another Godzilla-themed hip hop group. These albums include multiple Godzilla samples throughout the series. Taiwanese American electronic musician Mochipet released the EP Godzilla Rehab Center on August 21, 2012, featuring songs named after monsters in the series including Gigan, King Ghidorah, Moguera and Hedorah.
Godzilla is one of the most recognizable symbols of Japanese popular culture worldwide and is an important facet of Japanese films, embodying the kaiju subset of the tokusatsu genre. It has been considered a filmographic metaphor for the United States (with the "-zilla" part of the name being used in vernacular language as a suffix to indicate something of exaggerated proportions), as well as an allegory of nuclear weapons in general. The earlier Godzilla films, especially the original Godzilla, portrayed Godzilla as a frightening, nuclear monster. Godzilla represented the fears that many Japanese held about the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the possibility of recurrence.
At least two prehistoric creatures from the fossil record have been named after Godzilla. Gojirasaurus quayi is a theropod dinosaur that lived in the Triassic Period; a partial skeleton was unearthed in Quay County, New Mexico. Dakosaurus andiniensis, a crocodile from the Jurassic Period, was nicknamed "Godzilla" before being scientifically classified. In 2010 the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society named their most recently acquired scout vessel MV Gojira. Toho, the people in charge of the Godzilla franchise, served them with a notice to remove the name and in response the boat's name was changed in May 2011 to MV Brigitte Bardot.
The Return of Godzilla (1984) generated $230 million merchandise sales in Japan. Godzilla (1998) generated more than $400 million in merchandise sales. In Japan, Godzilla merchandise sold ¥7 billion ($64.34 million) in 2016, and ¥15 billion ($134 million) in 2017. Combined, Godzilla generated at least more than $828.3 million in merchandise sales as of 2017.
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- 1954 Japan Movie Association Awards – Special Effects (Godzilla 1954)
- 1965 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Mothra vs. Godzilla)
- 1966 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Invasion of Astro Monster)
- 1986 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects and Newcomer of the Year (The Return of Godzilla)
- 1986 Razzie Awards – Worst Supporting Actor and Worst New Star (The Return of Godzilla)
- 1992 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah)
- 1993 Tokyo Sports Movie Awards – Best Leading Actor (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
- 1993 Best Grossing Films Award – Golden Award and Money-Making Star Award (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
- 1993 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Godzilla vs. Mothra)
- 1994 Japan Academy Award – Best Score (Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II)
- 1995 Best Grossing Films Award – Silver Award (Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla)
- 1996 Best Grossing Films Award – Golden Award (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah)
- 1996 Japan Academy Award – Special Effects (Godzilla vs. Destoroyah)
- 1996 MTV Movie Awards – Lifetime Achievement*
- 1998 Golden Raspberry Awards – Worst Supporting Actress and Worst Remake or Sequel (Godzilla 1998)
- 1999 Saturn Awards – Best Special Effects (Godzilla 1998)
- 2001 Saturn Awards – Best Home Video Release (Godzilla 2000)
- 2002 Best Grossing Films Award – Silver Award (Godzilla, Mothra and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack)
- 2004 Hollywood Walk of Fame
- 2007 Saturn Awards – Best DVD Classic Film Release (Godzilla 1954)
- 2014 22nd Annual Japan Cool Content Contribution Award (Godzilla 2014)
- 2017 40th Japan Academy Prize – Best Picture, Best Director, Cinematography, Lighting Direction, Art Direction, Sound Recording, Film Editing (Shin Godzilla)
(*) In 1996 Godzilla received an award for Lifetime Achievement at the MTV Movie Awards. Creator and producer Shōgo Tomiyama accepted on his behalf via satellite and was joined by "Godzilla" himself.
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- See Come with Me (Puff Daddy song) § Certifications
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- Punk Rock Is Dead
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- Janus Films and The Criterion Collection have sub-licensed these films from DreamWorks Classics (formerly known as Classic Media), who hold permanent rights to the Japanese and English versions of these films: Godzilla (1954), Godzilla Raids Again (1955), Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956), Rodan (1956), Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964), Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster (1964), Invasion of Astro-Monster (1965), War of the Gargantuas (1966), All Monsters Attack (1969), and Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975).
- 11.2 million tickets in initial release.
- King of the Monsters grossed $2 million in 1956. Gojira grossed $491,389 in 2004.
- 4.32 million tickets in initial release.
- 3.78 million tickets in initial release.
- 3.51 million tickets in initial release.
- 1964 release grossed ¥330,000,000. 1980 re-release grossed ¥2,330,000,000.
- 3.45 million tickets in initial release
- 2.48 million tickets in initial release
- Galbraith IV, Stuart (1994). Japanese Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films: A Critical Analysis of 103 Features Released in the United States, 1950–1992. McFarland.
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- Kalat, David (2010). A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series (Second Edition). McFarland. ISBN 9780786447497.
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- Ragone, August (2007). Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6078-9.
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- Ryfle, Steve (1998). Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of the Big G. ECW Press. ISBN 9781550223484.
- Ryfle, Steve; Godziszewski, Ed (2017). Ishiro Honda: A Life in Film, from Godzilla to Kurosawa. Wesleyan University Press. ISBN 9780819570871.
- Solomon, Brian (2017). Godzilla FAQ: All That's Left to Know About the King of the Monsters. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. ISBN 9781495045684.
- Tsutsui, William (2004). Godzilla On My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters. Palgrave MacMillan. ISBN 1-4039-6474-2.