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Godzilla-thon: GODZILLA (1998)

Unused Godzilla design for Jan de Bont's unmade Godzilla movie

Producer and distributor, Henry G. Saperstein, was given permission by TOHO to make a new Godzilla film at Hollywood. Saperstein met with Cary Woods and Robert Fried to pitch an idea for a live-action Mr. Magoo movie, but the discussion turned to the availability for the rights to Godzilla instead. Woods and Fried were interested and they turned to Columbia Pictures first. Columbia flat out rejected it saying that Godzilla was too campy. Tri-Star originally rejected the idea as well saying that they haven't seen any potential and thought that it wouldn't make a great film. Woods decided to take his wife's advice and proposed the idea to Peter Guber, who is now the former chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Guber was over-joyed by the idea because he saw Godzilla as an international brand and had the film set up at Tri-Star. TOHO and Tri-Star agreed on a deal in mid-1992 and TOHO sent guidelines on how to treat Godzilla. The memo was four pages detailing the physical details that were required for Godzilla's design.

Stan Winston with the Gryphon maquette

By October 1992, Tri-Star announced to the public that they have the rights for Godzilla and that it was going to be a trilogy promising that the movie would stay true to the original series. Director Jan de Bont is a big Godzilla fan and he was attached to the film after he directed the film, Speed. The final draft was submitted by screen writers Terry Rossio and Ted Elliott and pre-production began aiming for a 1994 release. Jan de Bont's idea was to discard Godzilla's atomic origin and was instead created by Atlantians to fight against a space monster called the Gryphon (This actually sounds very similar to another monster film, Gamera: Guardian Of The Universe). The director asked for $100-120 million to direct the film and Tri-Star refused. By 94, Tri-Star was hoping that the movie would already be off the ground, but the release date kept being pushed back. They pitched other ideas to de Bont one where Godzilla would have a partner so they could make a spin-off film from that monster as well as save money. De Bont refused the ideas from Tri-Star and left production.

Tri-Star turned to Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, but they refused because they thought that it was a dopey idea and they even admitted that they hated the films. When Emmerich read the original screen play he only liked parts of it and thought that there were things that should be "improved." So Emmerich and Devlin signed on to see through the production for GODZILLA originally asking for a lower budget than de Bont's. As production progressed the budget ultimately totaled at $150 million, $30-50 million more than the budget de Bont had asked for.


Biologist, Nick Tatopolous, will find that his research on mutations from nuclear waste will become bigger than he can imagine when a giant lizard goes on a rampage through New York City.