Toho Studios, the makers behind the iconic Godzilla giant monster movie franchise have filed suit against Voltage Pictures, who are current at the Cannes Film Festival trying to drum up international buyers for their planned movie Colossal, which has alternately been described as “Godzilla meets Lost In Translation” or “Godzilla meets Being John Malkovich.” The film is set to star Anne Hathaway as a woman who finds she has a strange connection to a giant monster attacking Tokyo.
At first blush, it might seem easy to dismiss Toho’s claims against Voltage as perhaps the quirk of some bad translation. Describing a new potential film in terms of other films is a standard Hollywood way to pitch films. So calling something “Godzilla meets whatever” wouldn’t really be a Godzilla movie, Voltage is only using Godzilla as a frame of reference.
Toho sees it differently. According to Deadline, who has read the entire complaint –
Citing and show an alleged May 9 email from Voltage to “potential investors,” agents and others, claiming Colossal was about Tokyo being “under attack by Godzilla and a giant robot,” the Japanese company also claimed that Vigalondo’s director’s showed a silhouette of the monster on its cover as well as images inside of “Toho’s series of Godzilla films, the 2014 Godzilla Film, and authorized Godzilla merchandise.” Noting past interview where Vigalondo said he was going to make “the cheapest Godzilla movie ever,” the 6-claim complaint also claims to show a poster in Voltage’s Cannes suite of the movie that looks like Godzilla in action.
Personally, it looks like to me not so much as a failure of translation than Toho looking to slap Voltage for their overuse of Godzilla as a descriptor in their marketing material and I dare say I can’t blame them. While I don’t think that Voltage has any real intent to make an actual Godzilla film, it looks like they are going overboard with their comparison to Toho’s franchise. Will a promise to adjust their promotional materials be enough to appease Toho? We’ll see.