We are now less than six months away from the highly anticipated March 13th, 2020 release of Godzilla V.S Kong, the fourth installment and continuation of Legendary’s Monsterverse and a remake of the 1962 classic by Toho Pictures, King Kong V.S Godzilla, and the fans have since become tense in the wake of the release in consideration that there has been very little to almost no promotional material to base any excitement or analysis off of.
It is no surprise that Warner Bros. and Legendary were very disappointed following the box office outcome from the May 2019 release of the franchises latest instalment, Michael Dougherty’s (Trick ‘R Treat, Krampus) Godzilla: King Of The Monsters, which saw a $385.9 million International gross ($110.5 million Domestically) on an approximate $170-200 million budget and called upon immediate adjustment for the release of Godzilla V.S Kong. Many analysts concluded that the overcrowded releases in April and May, which saw the runs of Avengers: Endgame, John Wick 3, Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, and Disney’s Aladdin dominating the box office, and an overall lack of international interest that the brand of Godzilla brings to, mostly, western audiences.
Another factor which may have induced the major reshoots of the film and the lack of promotional material is the critical reception that may have plagued much of the commercial success of Godzilla: King Of The Monsters; at the end of it’s theatrical run the film sat at a 41% Critic Consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, this, along with many “poor” to “average” critical reviews amongst other sites may have been enough to sway moviegoers away from the film in comparison to the 83% Audience Score given by the general audience as well as fans alike whom (myself included) found it to be not just the best addition to the Legendary Monsterverse but possibly in the entire Godzilla catalog.
Compared to the May 2014 release of Gareth Edward’s (Monsters, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) Godzilla, which was received with a solid 75% Critic Consensus (66% Audience Score) and an International box office gross of $524.98 million ($200.68 million Domestically) on an approximate budget of $160 million, it is no surprise that the studios may be quick to create major adjustments that could have implications on the future of the franchise.
Usually the closest assumption, if there are no statements from the studios or the production, would be to analyze the activities of the cast and crew on social media outlets such as Twitter, unfortunately, there is even less word to be found when looking through profiles. It was known that Godzilla V.S Kong Director, Adam Wingard, had deleted his Twitter account following the release of Netflix’s 2017 live-action remake of the critically acclaimed anime Death Note. Even the two young stars of the film, Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things, Godzilla: King Of The Monsters) and Julian Dennison (Hunt For The Wilderpeople, Deadpool 2) have yet to make any mentions of the project on their social media pages outside of 2018.
The frustration may not only be extended past the fanbase, as Youtuber DangerVille and entertainment correspondent, Jon Campea, have since made mention on the progress of the commercialization of Godzilla V.S Kong, with both attributing the slow progress to the anticipated announcement of a release date delay. A delay from the original release date of March 13th, 2020 may be the best decision for the film creatively, however, given that the film holds a solid release slot for the month of March, and considering that major films such as A Quiet Place 2, Mulan, Black Widow, and The Fast And The Furious 9 are poised to dominate the months of March, April, and May, it may be in the distributors best interest to stay firm otherwise they could be looking at a delay that wouldn’t create an opportune opening until either late Summer or early Fall 2020.
There is hope that Godzilla V.S Kong could see a beginning and increase in promotional material for the film; December 2017 saw the first poster and trailer release for Rampage, which starred Dwayne Johnson, and had a release date of April 13th, which would stand as a month later than Godzilla V.S Kong currently is holding. The interesting factor to consider is that both films had similar competition; Rampage had to push their release even sooner with the decision from Disney to release Avengers: Infinity War a week earlier, and, despite the strain, Rampage managed to gross $428 million Internationally at the box office on a budget of approximately $120-140 million.
While the time for promotion and advertising may be drawing film, it would be safer to say that Godzilla V.S Kong would more than likely see a delay leading up to the film’s release. If that would not be the case, and given the frustration, the fanbase and members of the media have faced the last few weeks, it is possible that Legendary may begin to push forward promotional material within the next few days to weeks. It is disappointing to see this result following the creative confidence the Legendary Monsterverse has displayed, especially in the last two instalments, Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla: King Of The Monsters.
Reshoots are not uncommon in Hollywood, and never have been, however, a movie of this size and extent is surprising to see such a lack of confidence in all parties from the studios to the cast and crew. During the development of each of the previous films in the franchise fans were given the opportunity to interact and be consistently updated with production progress; while working on Kong: Skull Island, Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts would post set photos and concept art of certain set pieces on his social media pages, and the marketing team from Godzilla: King Of The Monsters developed an entire Monarch website designed for fans to track monsters such as Godzilla and receive updates on bios of many of the creatures featured throughout the film.
Despite even as much as a single still to base any impressions on, it is still exciting for lifelong fans of both Godzilla and King Kong to know that the production of this film still appears to be in progress.
Godzilla V.S Kong is scheduled for release on March 13th, 2020. The film is directed by Adam Wingard and stars Millie Bobby Brown, Julian Dennison, Alexander Skarsgard, and Kyle Chandler.