Hollywood giant Warner Bros put the fate of the classic behemoth ― originally a Japanese film ― in the hands of Briton Gareth Edwards, who made independent sci-fi flick “Monsters” in 2010.
Godzilla’s latest incarnation has been appearing on screens in the United States and 60 other countries and territories since mid-May, storming straight to the top of the global box office on its opening weekend.
|A large wall painting of Godzilla is displayed at Toho Studios in Tokyo on Thursday as part of the “Godzilla” 60th anniversary project. ( AFP-Yonhap)|
It had racked up nearly $180 million in North America alone by early June, but screening in Japan, set for July 25, comes at the very end of its global release rollout.
Despite the movie’s strong performance elsewhere, Edwards said he was not celebrating until he saw success in the monster’s homeland.
“I feel like a surrogate mother. We grew this baby that really belongs to you and we hand it back now,” he said in Tokyo, adding that he hoped Japanese viewers would like his take.
Edwards was visiting Japan as the monster marks its 60th anniversary. He spoke on the sidelines of an event to unveil a huge Godzilla painting on a wall of a studio by Toho, the creator of the original series.
Edwards is an avowed fan of the original “Gojira” film by Ishiro Honda, which was released in November 1954, nine years after Japan’s defeat in World War II after the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
From the moment Godzilla rose out of a roiling sea and began his swim to Japan, it was clear he was a product of the U.S. atmospheric hydrogen bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific in the 1950s.
A 1956 version, “Godzilla: King of the Monsters!” brought the story to U.S. and other non-Japanese film-goers.
Sixty years later, the atomic fire still blazes inside the beast, a deliberate choice in a screenplay written just as the quake-tsunami-nuclear disaster struck Fukushima in March 2011.
Faithful to the original, the movie opens in Japan where Joe Brody (played by “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston) sees his wife Sandra (played by Juliette Binoche) die in the nuclear power plant where they work, following a serious accident.
“I think ‘Godzilla,’ the original, is probably the most serious and profound fantasy film that has ever been made and emotional, too,” Edwards said.