Friday, February 5, 2010

Mondo Trivia: Godzilla 1985

* The original plan by New Universe Pictures was to re-edit the Japanese cut and make it a comedy a la What's Up, Tiger Lily?  Fortunately for us, Raymond Burr was against it and the plans were scrapped.

* The movie was re-edited and re-shot to a cost of about $3 million.  Considering that the original film's budget in Japan was about $6 million, that's a lot!

* While a hit in Japan (grossing about twice its budget), it was not a hit in America.  New Universe only made a couple million dollars on the whole thing, marketing aside.

* This is one of only three Godzilla films released theatrically in America.  The other two are Gojira in 1954 and Godzilla 2000 in 1999 (don't ask).  Yes, I'm not counting Roland Emmerich's movie!


  1. Hey, Tim, didn't know you were a G fan.

    There have been many other Godzilla films released to theaters in America, though. Some of them were US-Japan co-productions. MOTHRA vs. GODZILLA (as GODZILLA VS. THE THING), MONSTER ZERO, GHIDORAH, THE THREE HEADED MONSTER (as GHIDRAH, THE THREE HEADED MONSTER), GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN (as GIGANTIS, THE FIRE MONSTER), KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, GODZILLA VS. MEGALON, TERROR OF MECHAGODZILLA (as THE TERROR OF GODZILLA) and DESTROY ALL MONSTERS are among them. Movies like GODZILLA VS. THE SEA MONSTER and SON OF GODZILLA were released straight to television for whatever reason, though.

    Other non Godzilla monster movies also got theatrical releases such as RODAN, MOTHRA, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD and its pseudo sequel, WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS.

  2. I probably should have been more direct.

    As far as I know, those three are the only ones to get official releases at the time they were meant to be. The others have had drive-in releases and the like, but later. The only ones to have official studio backing are the three I mentioned.

    As to me being a Godzilla fan, I totally am. If you search my review back-logs, you'll see that I've reviewed Godzilla vs. Hedorah and the entire Millenium series.

    Also, as Carl can tell you, I got into a vigorous defense of 'Godzilla: Final Wars' after his negative review. I will convert you, Carl!

  3. MONSTER ZERO, FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD and WAR OF THE GARGANTUAS were co-productions between Toho and Hollywood producer, Henry G. Saperstein. He had a five picture deal with Toho. The other two were non Kaiju productions.

    KING KONG ESCAPES and LATITUDE ZERO are two other US-Japan co-productions. The former with Rankin-Bass and the latter with Don Sharpe. That whole film was shot totally in English.

    During the 50's and 60's, when they were most popular, these movies played first run theaters. Warner Brothers and Universal International released some of these titles.

  4. I've actually reviewed 'Escapes' and 'Zero' in the past. They were both entertaining movies and worthy of people's interests.

    The thing with the Godzilla films in mainstream American markets is that they did not do well as a whole. Why else would they skip most of the 99% of the Heisei Era and only release the first Millenium film?

    Fun fact: the American Godzilla film pushed Toho to bring the character back earlier as a response. It's interesting to think that the movie played here, given that set-up.

  5. Which films are you referring? The older films did very well in America. Otherwise there wouldn't have been dozens of them released here. Their popularity waned during the 70's with shifts in audience tastes, but they were still popular enough for smaller outfits to release them and that's not counting television distribution where the bulk of the Gamera movies found a home.

    GODZILLA (1984) didn't do great business even in Japan, either. It was nonetheless very profitable for New World when you include the home video market. The only reason BIOLLANTE got made was that Tanaka felt the series should continue. BIOLLANTE is also the first film in the so called 'Heisei' series. It wasn't that big of a hit, either.

    After sci fi movies had again changed in American markets, Miramax was supposedly going to release the film here, but after a lawsuit from Toho, they licensed it out to HBO Video. It also played on cable at the time. As far as I know, Miramax still owns the US rights to the film.

    The 90's films were never released 'as a whole' in America because companies didn't feel the films held the weight they once did. In the wake of JURASSIC PARK, there was no wide theatrical market in America for movies that featured 'suitmation' as their SPX of choice.

    The only reason GODZILLA: MILLENNIUM got a release here (minus around 10 minutes and saddled with a stupid dub and closing title card) was the backlash the US movie got, not to mention the makers totally disregarded the "rules" laid down by Toho prior to its release.

  6. Wow, one can only imagine what Whats Up Tiger Lily would have been like.. I kinda want to see it, like now

  7. According to what I read, 'Godzilla 1985' did well enough in Japan. It made twice as much as it cost, which is a profit in anyone's book.

    As far as New World goes, they did not make a big profit IN THEATERS, which led to future films not being pushed for release here.

    As far as '1985' being a Heisei film, that is debatable. I included it due to it being the first film made after about a decade of absence.

    I will say this: the Millenium films were not massive hits in Japan, so I could see why they were not pushed for a U.S. release, given that the films tended to do worse as a whole in America it seemed.

    That said, I could see studios being against the films based on the use of suits as well.

  8. Well, not according to Tomoyuki Tanaka. The movie didn't perform to their expectations. They made more on merchandising than the actual movie reportedly.

    The reason New World didn't push for anymore films is because they were about to go under so acquiring a Godzilla movie was highly unlikely to bring them out of their financial slump.

    If GODZILLA MILLENNIUM had been more successful in America, than there would have been more of those films released to theaters here. Perhaps if there had been more respectful people dicking around with the film, it would have come off less ridiculous.

    Some of the Millennium films were very successful in Japan. The two biggest being GMK and GODZILLA X MECHAGODZILLA. The two lowest and the only two that could be considered failures were MEGAGUIRUS and FINAL WARS, which bombed far worse than could have been expected, and deservedly so.

  9. Maybe your information is from a better source than mine. :-)

    While it's true that some of the Millenium films did do well, they underperformed as a whole for the series. Part of it had to do with the explosion of animated films in Japan at the time- from what I read anyhow. Miyazaki's films did very well when matched up against Big G.

    While I'm not the biggest fan of 'Megaguirus'- there are some seriously low-fi wires in many shots- I love 'Final Wars.' I don't want to get into another debate about that at the moment though. I fully comprehend purists' complaints about it- I just like it anyways.

  10. There's four reviewed, but the first two books here will be of most interest to you, Tim.

  11. Woops! Forgot the link...