By Sean Ray | a&e editor
Cinematic universes seem to be all the rage in Hollywood. Since Marvel Studios started the trend in 2008 with “Iron Man,” both Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures have announced their own cinematic universes, based on DC superheroes and classic horror icons respectively. However, a new cinematic universe has entered the fray, but this one is of more monstrous proportions.
On Oct. 14, Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers Pictures announced a collaborative cinematic universe based off of giant monsters, or kaiju as they are commonly called among fans. Specifically, the stars are set to be Godzilla and King Kong.
The announcement retroactively made Legendary’s 2014 film “Godzilla” the first film in the universe and will be followed by 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island,” 2018’s “Godzilla 2” and 2020’s “Godzilla vs. Kong.”
Besides Godzilla and King Kong, the two studios also said that “other famous monsters” would be included in the universe. While unknown which monsters this is referring to, a likely possibility is the inclusion of Legendary’s 2013 film “Pacific Rim.” Guillermo del Toro, director of “Pacific Rim,” has previously expressed a desire to cross over his film with “Godzilla.”
Godzilla and King Kong have crossed over before. Both monsters’ third movie was the 1962 “King Kong vs. Godzilla.” The film remains one of the most successful in the Godzilla franchise, according to IMDB. The film was also the first time either monster was portrayed in color.
However, there are some noticeable differences between the original film and this remake. Namely that Godzilla now has top billing over King Kong. When the original film was made, King Kong was the more popular and well known monster. Since their clash, however, things have changed. King Kong went on to have only four films added to his repertoire. By comparison, Godzilla’s film series now has 30 entries and the original “Gojira” holds the record for the film with the most amount of sequels.
While this may not mean much to people who have not seen the original film, this could mean a very big difference for those that have.
However, in order to talk about this, I am going to have to issue a spoiler warning here. Read ahead only if you do not wish to know the ending to a 50 year old film.
The reason this change in title is important is because not only did Kong receive top billing in the original film, he also won the fight. Yes, despite a myth stating that Kong wins in the America version and Godzilla wins in the Japanese, the giant gorilla actually wins in both versions of the film, as has been clarified by Toho, the company that made the film and the owners of Godzilla.
Toho even had to power up Kong in order to defeat their own creation. While the original King Kong only stood at around 25 feet, Godzilla was 164 feet in his original film, and a whopping 350 feet tall in his latest film.
In addition to the size change, Toho also granted Kong electrical powers in order to match Godzilla’s signature atomic breath. Had the original Kong fought the original Godzilla, there is little doubt the gorilla would have been squashed or incinerated within seconds.
With all of that in mind, what this title change could mean is a change to the ending. Could Godzilla finally be victorious over his decades long nemesis? Or will King Kong remain the winner, reining over his reptilian rival?
In either case, there still remains much speculation over this new cinematic universe, so only time will tell who will win or which other monsters will be included. And while Godzilla may have more movies than Kong, both monsters seem equally loved. Peter Jackson’s 2005 “King Kong” remake grossed $550 million, while Godzilla’s 2014 remake grossed a similar $529 million.