Japanese 'Godzilla' Studio Toho Set To Expand To The U.S.

The Japanese studio behind Godzilla is planning to expand to Hollywood. Toho, the movie group responsible for the creation of the iconic giant lizard, is expanding a subsidiary in the U.S. with the goal of working more with Hollywood. This may put in question the fate of Legendary's mammoth MonsterVerse, the first series of Godzilla films to be completely produced by a Hollywood Studio. 

Variety reported that Toho is expanding to the U.S. through an existing international subsidiary which it is reviving with a $14 million investment. The subsidiary, called Toho International Inc., has existed since 1953 but has long remained dormant until now.

Toho International Inc., is expanding to Los Angeles as part of a "so-called breakthrough strategy" that is part of Toho's "Vision 2021 Plan." This plan consists of Toho implementing an accelerated international strategy and enhanced "character business" centered around the Godzilla property. "We will work toward the full implementation of JAPAN IP (Japanese entertainment content by Toho and others) on a global scale," the plan says.

Toho is an investor in Legendary's upcoming Godzilla: King of Monsters, which is set to blow up the MonsterVerse to an even bigger scale. The blockbuster film will descend into an epic battle of kaiju monsters including Mothra, Rodan, and Godzilla's ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah, paving the way for the ultimate monster showdown in the 2020 sequel Godzilla vs. Kong. Fittingly the next film will be a clash between iconic Japanese and American monsters, as Toho and Legendary appear to come at a crossroads over the rights to Godzilla.

Japanese-language websites have reported that Legendary Entertainment's license to use the Godzilla IP will soon expire, but Legendary retains the rights as long as it continues to make Godzilla films. This explains Legendary's eagerness to establish the MonsterVerse and introduce Godzilla to its homegrown monster, King Kong.

But who knows what this Toho expansion means for the future of Legendary's Godzilla movies? Perhaps it will have no impact at all. Or perhaps Toho will earn an even bigger stake in the MonsterVerse movies, with the inevitable Mothra and Rodan spin-offs going under the Japanese studio. But you know the saying: Let them fight.