MonsterVerse

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MonsterVerse
Monsterverse logo.jpg
Logo featured on merchandise for Kong: Skull Island
Directed by
Produced by
Based on
Production
company
Distributed by
Release date
2014–present
Country United States
Language English
Budget Total (2 films):
$345 million[1]
Box office Total (2 films):
$1,095,228,881[1]

The MonsterVerse[2] is an American media franchise and shared fictional universe that is centered on a series of monster films featuring Godzilla and King Kong, co-produced and distributed by Warner Bros. and co-produced by Legendary Entertainment in partnership with Toho (for the Godzilla films). The first installment was Godzilla (2014), a reboot[3] of the Godzilla franchise, which was followed by Kong: Skull Island (2017), a reboot[4] of the King Kong franchise. The next film to be released will be Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), followed by Godzilla vs. Kong (2020). The series has grossed over $1 billion worldwide so far.[1]

Development[edit]

Legendary Entertainment confirmed at the July 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International that it had acquired the rights to Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah from Toho and revealed concept footage with the closing title cards reading "Conflict: inevitable. Let them fight".[5] In September 2015, Legendary announced that the film Kong: Skull Island would not be developed with Universal Studios. Instead, it would be developed with Warner Bros., which sparked media speculation that Godzilla and King Kong would appear in a film together.[6][7]

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 2014's Godzilla) and that "brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new". While Legendary will maintain its home at Universal, it will continue to collaborate with Warner Bros. for the franchise.[8] Later in October, it was announced that Kong: Skull Island would have references to Monarch.[9]

In May 2016, Warner Bros. announced that Godzilla vs. Kong would be released on May 29, 2020, and that Godzilla: King of the Monsters would be pushed back from its original June 2018 release date to March 22, 2019,[10] however, the film was later pushed back again to May 31, 2019.[11] In October 2016, Legendary announced that Godzilla: King of the Monsters would be filmed at its parent company Wanda's Oriental Movie Metropolis facility in Qingdao, China, along with Pacific Rim Uprising.[12] That same month, it was revealed that Legendary was planning a writers room to create their Godzilla–Kong cinematic universe, with Alex Garcia overseeing the project for Legendary.[13]

In early January 2017, Thomas Tull, founder of Legendary, resigned from the company but will remain as producer for the Godzilla–Kong series, which was revealed as the "MonsterVerse".[14] In March 2017, Legendary assembled a writers room to develop the story for Godzilla vs. Kong.[15]

Films[edit]

Film U.S. release date Director(s) Story by Screenplay by Producer(s) Status
Godzilla May 16, 2014 (2014-05-16) Gareth Edwards David Callaham Max Borenstein Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni, Mary Parent and Brian Rogers Released
Kong: Skull Island March 10, 2017 (2017-03-10) Jordan Vogt-Roberts John Gatins Dan Gilroy, Max Borenstein and Derek Connolly Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni, and Alex Garcia
Godzilla: King of the Monsters May 31, 2019 Michael Dougherty Max Borenstein, Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields Mary Parent, Alex Garcia, Brian Rogers, and Thomas Tull Post-Production
Godzilla vs. Kong May 22, 2020 Adam Wingard TBA Thomas Tull, Mary Parent, Jon Jashni, and Alex Garcia In development

Godzilla (2014)[edit]

Theatrical poster for Godzilla (2014)

The film reimagines Godzilla's origins in contemporary times and is set 15 years after a nuclear meltdown in Japan which subsequently awakens two giant parasitic creatures, known as "MUTOs". As the MUTOs ravage the countryside in order to reproduce, they awaken a larger ancient alpha predator, known as "Godzilla", whose existence has been kept secret by the U.S. government since 1954. The film introduces Godzilla, the MUTOs, and the Monarch organization to the MonsterVerse.

In 2004, director Yoshimitsu Banno acquired permission from Toho to produce a short IMAX Godzilla film which was in development for several years until the project was eventually turned over to Legendary Pictures.[3][16] In March 2010, Legendary announced to have acquired the rights to Godzilla for a feature film reboot.[17] In January 2011, Gareth Edwards was announced as the director for the film.[18] The film was co-produced with Warner Bros. Pictures with filming completed in 2013 in Canada and the United States for release in 2014.[19] Godzilla was released on May 16, 2014 to positive reviews from critics[20][21] and was a box office success, grossing $200 million domestically and $529 million worldwide against its $160 million budget.[22]

Kong: Skull Island (2017)[edit]

Theatrical poster for Kong: Skull Island (2017)

The film is set in 1973 and follows a team of scientists and Vietnam War soldiers who travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific and encounter terrifying creatures and the mighty Kong. The film introduces King Kong, Mother Longlegs,[23] Sker Buffalos,[23] Mire Squid,[23] Leafwing,[23] Psychovulture,[23] Spore Mantis,[23] Ramarak,[24] and the Skullcrawlers to the MonsterVerse and a post-credits scene introduces Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah to the MonsterVerse.[25]

In July 2014 at the San Diego Comic-Con, Legendary announced a King Kong origin story, initially titled Skull Island, with a release date of November 4, 2016, and Universal Pictures distributing.[26] In September 2014, Jordan Vogt-Roberts was announced as the film's director.[27] In September 2015, Legendary moved development of the film from Universal Pictures to Warner Bros. to create an expanded cinematic universe.[28] Principal photography began on October 19, 2015, in Hawaii and various locations around Vietnam. Kong: Skull Island was released on March 10, 2017 to positive reviews from critics[29][30] and was a box office success, grossing $168 million domestically and $566 million worldwide against its $185 million budget.[31] The film received a nomination for Best Visual Effects at the 90th Academy Awards.[32]

Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)[edit]

The Monarch agency struggles to ensure humanity's survival in an age of god-sized monsters. Three new monsters named Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah rise to challenge Godzilla for supremacy.[33]

Prior to announcing a shared cinematic universe between Godzilla and King Kong, Legendary originally intended to produce a Godzilla trilogy, with Gareth Edwards attached to direct all films.[34] However, Edwards left the sequel in May 2016 to work on smaller scale projects.[35] In January 2017, Michael Dougherty was announced as the director and co-writer for the film.[36] Principal photography began on June 19, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia and wrapped on September 27, 2017.[37] The film is scheduled to be released on May 31, 2019 in 2D, 3D, and select IMAX worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, except in Japan where the film will be distributed by Toho.[11][33]

Godzilla vs. Kong (2020)[edit]

Legendary first announced the film in October 2015 when it also announced its plans for a shared cinematic franchise featuring Godzilla and King Kong.[8] Producer Alex Garcia confirmed that the film will not be a remake of the Toho version, stating, "the idea is not to remake that movie."[38] In May 2016, Warner Bros. announced that the film would be released on May 29, 2020.[10]

In March 2017, Legendary assembled a writers room to develop the story for Godzilla vs. Kong, with Terry Rossio (who co-wrote an early unproduced script for TriStar's Godzilla)[39] leading a team consisting of Patrick McKay, J. D. Payne, Lindsey Beer, Cat Vasko, T.S. Nowlin, Jack Paglen, and J. Michael Straczynski.[15] On his experience with the writers room, Rossio stated:

"Godzilla vs. Kong was my first experience running a writer's room, and it was fantastic. It was a blast reading samples, meeting different writers, and crafting a story in a group setting. It felt similar to animation, where the film is happening up on the walls, and the end result is better than any one person could accomplish on their own."[40]

In May 2017, Warner Bros. bumped the film's original release date to a week earlier, from May 29 to May 22, for a Memorial Day weekend release.[41] That same month, Adam Wingard was announced as the director for Godzilla vs. Kong.[42]

In July 2017, Wingard spoke about the outline created by the writers room, stating, "We're going in very great detail through all the characters, the arcs they have, how they relate to one another, and most importantly how they relate to the monsters, and how the monsters relate to them or reflect them." He also stated that he and his team are going "beat by beat" on the outline, stating, "So once again, it's a discussion, and about feeling out how to make it as strong as possible, so that when Terry [Rossio] goes to write the screenplay, he has a definitive breakdown of what to include."[43]

In August 2017, Wingard spoke about his approach for the monsters, stating:

"I really want you to take those characters seriously. I want you to be emotionally invested, not just in the human characters, but actually in the monsters. It’s a massive monster brawl movie. There’s lots of monsters going crazy on each other, but at the end of the day I want there to be an emotional drive to it. I want you to be emotionally invested in them. I think that’s what’s going to make it really cool."[44]

Wingard expressed his desire for the film to have a definite winner, stating:

“I do want there to be a winner. The original film was very fun, but you feel a little let down that the movie doesn’t take a definitive stance. People are still debating now who won in that original movie, you know. So, I do want people to walk away from this film feeling like, Okay, there is a winner.”[45]

Wingard also confirmed that the film will tie in with Godzilla: King of the Monsters, be set in modern times, and feature a "more rugged, a bit more aged Kong."[46] Stage work on the film will be shot in Atlanta.[47] Principal photography is expected to begin on October 1, 2018, and end in February 2019 under the working title Apex.[48][49]

In June 2018, Julian Dennison was cast in a supporting role alongside Van Marten, Ziyi Zhang, Millie Bobby Brown and Kyle Chandler. Legendary also sent an offer to Frances McDormand for the lead role.[50][51] In July 2018, it was revealed that Danai Gurira was in early talks to join the film.[52]

Reception[edit]

Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office gross Box office ranking Budget Ref(s)
North America Other territories Worldwide North America Worldwide
Godzilla May 16, 2014 $200,676,069 $328,400,000 $529,076,069 183 165 $160 million [22]
Kong: Skull Island March 10, 2017 $168,052,812 $398,600,000 $566,652,812 268 144 $185 million [31]
Total $368,728,881 $727,000,000 $1,095,728,881 $345 million [1]

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Godzilla 75% (300 reviews) [53] 62 (48 critics) [54] B+[55]
Kong: Skull Island 75% (323 reviews) [56] 62 (49 critics) [57] B+[55]

Tie-in material[edit]

Books[edit]

Title Release date Writer(s) Note
Godzilla – The Official Movie Novelization May 20, 2014 Greg Cox Novelization of Godzilla
Kong: Skull Island – The Official Movie Novelization March 14, 2017 Tim Lebbon Novelization of Kong: Skull Island

Comics[edit]

Title Release date Writer(s) Story by Illustrator(s) Cover Artist(s) Note
Godzilla: Awakening May 7, 2014 (2014-05-07) Max Borenstein and Greg Borenstein Eric Battle, Yvel Guichet, Alan Quah, and Lee Loughridge Arthur Adams Tie-in prequel comic to Godzilla
Skull Island: The Birth of Kong April 12, 2017 Arvid Nelson Zid   Tie-in prequel/sequel comic to Kong: Skull Island

Video games[edit]

Legendary's Godzilla was featured as a playable character in Bandai Namco's 2014 video game Godzilla as "Hollywood Godzilla".[58][59]

Title Release date Developer Publisher Note
Godzilla: Crisis Defense May 7, 2014 Legendary Legendary Tie-in web game to Godzilla
Godzilla: Strike Zone May 15, 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Warner Bros. Entertainment Tie-in mobile game to Godzilla
Godzilla: Smash 3 May 16, 2014 Rogue Play Pipeworks Tie-in mobile game to Godzilla

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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