A few weeks ago it was announced that Nacho Vigalondo (Time Crimes, Haunter, Open Windows, VHS: Viral) would be directing Anne Hathaway in a giant monster movie called Colossal. With references to Godzilla in the description, and also being billed as a sort of Godzilla type movie, Colossal is now facing a lawsuit from Godzilla creators Toho studios, reports THR.
Toho are suing Voltage Pictures over the rights to Godzilla, claiming the film is too close to home. Colossal has been described as a cross between Being John Malkovich and Godzilla, and the synopsis reads:
“Hathaway will play Gloria, an ordinary woman who, after losing her job and her fiancé, decides to leave her life in New York to move back to her hometown.
But when news reports surface that a giant lizard is destroying the city of Tokyo, Gloria gradually comes to realize that she is strangely connected to these far-off events via the power of her mind. In order to prevent further destruction, Gloria needs to determine why her seemingly insignificant existence has such a colossal effect on the fate of the world”
Toho, naturally, are angry.
It hasn’t helped matters that last year director Vigalondo said in an interview: “It’s going to be the cheapest ‘Godzilla’ movie ever, I promise. It’s going to be a serious ‘Godzilla’ movie, but I’ve got an idea that’s going to make it so cheap that you will feel betrayed.”
In a complaint filed Tuesday in California federal court, Toho say the filmmakrs “…are brazenly producing, advertising, and selling an unauthorized Godzilla film of their own.”
The lawsuit focuses on the filmmakers’ efforts to publicize Colossal, which Toho claims have included infringing content. The Godzilla rights holders claim the filmmakers sent an email blast to potential investors, sales agents and distributors on May 9 pitching Colossal with a publicity still from the recent Godzilla reboot (the complaint includes pictures) plus a document of “Director’s Notes” with numerous images from official Toho works.
“The Director’s Notes also make clear that Defendants have not only taken the Godzilla Character as their own, but that they also intend to use the Godzilla Character in precisely the same way that Toho used the character in its initial film — attacking Tokyo,” states the complaint.
Other infringements Toho claims include the line “Tokyo is under attack by Godzilla” in the company’s Cannes sales booklet and a poster with an image from the Godzilla reboot.
“Toho is informed and believes, and based thereon alleges, that Defendants have knowingly used the Godzilla Character to attract interest and attention in their Colossal project so that it would stand out in a crowded field of competitors on the film sales circuit,” states the complaint.
The plaintiff is suing for copyright and trademark infringements, trademark dilution, Lanham Act violations, unfair competition and unjust enrichment. It wants Voltage enjoined from producing Colossal plus unspecified damages.
The complaint was filed by Greenberg Glusker’s Aaron Moss and Chuck Shephard, Toho’s longtime litigators. “We’ve represented Toho for a long time, and this is about as brazen an act of infringement as we’ve encountered. It’s hard to believe that an established Hollywood production company would conduct business this way,” Shephard tells The Hollywood Reporter.
What this means for the future of Colossal, a film I am very excited about, is anybody’s guess. I hope they can work things out so that Colossal can get made.
Here are just two of the images within the complaint that have Toho annoyed, and in all honesty I don’t blame them!