Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Toho Studios Godzilla Statue

Text and photos by Armand Vaquer

Last October, I posted a blog on Hibiya's Godzilla Statue. This is a companion blog on the Godzilla statue that now stands at the entrance to Toho Studios.

Back in 2004, Godzilla Final Wars was announced as the last Toho-produced Godzilla movie for at least a decade due to dwindling boxoffice receipts.

After Godzilla Final Wars was released, Toho made some major changes to their studios in the Setaygaya ward of Tokyo in the ensuing years.

Out were some old soundstages, administrative buildings (including a 1950s era snack bar) and the famous big pool, where Godzilla's water scenes were shot.

New and modern soundstages were erected along with new administrative facilities. Part of the modernization of Toho Studios was a new front gate with a giant mural of one of Toho's most revered movies, Seven Samurai.

Along with the Seven Samurai mural, the new main gate now has a man-sized statue of Toho's biggest star, Godzilla.

I visited the main gate at Toho Studios last December during my trip to Japan for promoting The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

Above, Armand with the Godzilla statue at Toho Studios.

The statue is taller than me (I'm 5'11") and its design is of the Heisei series Godzilla. I'd hazard a guess that it stands about seven feet tall.

Above, Godzilla's tail gouges a wall behind him. The main gate and the bottom portion of the "Seven Samurai" mural are in the background.

Toho Studios does not provide tours of their facilities, but fans can go to Setagaya to view the statue, the Seven Samurai mural and the studios on the outside.

Information on how to reach Toho Studios is provided in The Monster Movie Fan's Guide To Japan.

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Burbank, CA – March 29, 2010 – Legendary Pictures announced today that they will develop and produce a new film based on Toho Company’s famed GODZILLA character. Through the terms of the agreement, Legendary Pictures has acquired the rights to produce a movie inspired by Toho’s Godzilla, a franchise the Japanese company created and has nurtured for over fifty years.

Toho’s GODZILLA franchise boasts one of the most widely recognized film creatures worldwide, resulting in a series of books, television programs, video games and more than 25 films worldwide. Legendary intends to approach the film and its characters in the most authentic manner possible. The company will, in the near future, announce a filmmaker to helm the film for an intended 2012 release. The film will fall under the company’s co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Toho will distribute the film in Japan."

"Godzilla" is coming back -- this time, with Legendary Pictures taking the lead, co-producing and co-financing with Warner Bros. for release in 2012.

Legendary announced Monday it had obtained rights to the iconic monster character from Japan's Toho Co., which has overseen more than 25 "Godzilla" films. Toho will release the pic in Japan.

Legendary said it's planning to announce a director shortly.

In addition to Legendary, producers on the new film will be Dan Lin, Roy Lee and Brian Rogers. Yoshimitsu Banno, Kenji Okuhira and Doug Davison will exec produce.

"Godzilla is one of the world's most powerful pop culture icons, and we at Legendary are thrilled to be able to create a modern epic based on this long-loved Toho franchise," said Thomas Tull, Chairman and CEO of Legendary. "Our plans are to produce the Godzilla that we, as fans, would want to see. We intend to do justice to those essential elements that have allowed this character to remain as pop-culturally relevant for as long as it has."

Legendary noted the film will fall under its co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. Legendary's productions with Warners have included "The Dark Knight," "300" and "The Hangover."

Speculation about a new "Godzilla" has been active since last summer. The Bloody Disgusting web site reported in August that the project was in development.