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Following Legendary’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ 2014 success with the global reinvention of the Godzilla franchise, the companies have come together to create a new shared cinematic franchise.

All-powerful monsters become towering heroes for a new generation, revealing a mythology that brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new. Monarch, the human organization that uncovered Godzilla in the 2014 film, will expand their mission across multiple releases.

The announcement that the reinvention of monsters continues was made Oct. 14 by Legendary CEO Thomas Tull and Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Kevin Tsujihara.

The initial trio of films are 2017’s “Kong: Skull Island”; “Godzilla 2” in 2018; and “Godzilla vs. Kong,” arriving in theaters in 2020.

King Kong and Godzilla battled in a 1962 Toho feature.
King Kong and Godzilla battled in a 1962 Toho feature.

While Legendary maintains its new home at Universal Pictures, the Godzilla films remain in partnership with Warner Bros., who will now also distribute Kong as a part of this franchise. Production on “Kong: Skull Island” begins Oct. 19.

Warner Bros. and Legendary released “Godzilla” in May 2014 with an agreement to release “Godzilla 2” in 2018. Both films feature the human Monarch organization. Shortly following Legendary’s pact with NBC Universal, Legendary acquired rights to additional classic characters from Toho’s Godzilla universe, including Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. This paved the way for developing a franchise centered around Monarch and anchored by Godzilla, King Kong, and other famous creatures.

When Legendary announced films centered on Godzilla and Kong, fans all over the world speculated these two characters might one day meet in the same film. Classic Toho monsters, including King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan, as announced at Comic-Con 2014, may also join the Legendary pantheon of giant monster mayhem going forward.

“Audiences really responded to ‘Godzilla,’” stated Tull. “Today, I’m excited to reveal that film was only the beginning of an epic new entertainment universe. As a lifelong fan of these characters, I’ve always wanted to see the ultimate showdown, and today we’re pleased to be announcing that and more.”

“Working with our partners at Legendary, we enjoyed tremendous creative and commercial success with ‘Godzilla,’” said Tsujihara. “It’s great to be able to revisit these characters and help create a franchise with so many creative possibilities for filmmakers. Fans love these big, globally iconic films and it doesn’t get any bigger than this.”

“Kong: Skull Island” stars Tom Hiddleston, Sam Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Tian Jing, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, and Toby Kebbell. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, and Derek Connolly, it will fully immerse audiences in the mysterious and dangerous home of the king of the apes as a team of explorers ventures deep inside the treacherous, primordial island. Legendary’s Tull and Jon Jashni will produce with Mary Parent. Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod will executive produce. Warner Bros. will distribute the film in 3D and IMAX 3D on March 10, 2017.

“Godzilla 2” will be written by Borenstein and directed by Gareth Edwards. Legendary is producing with Parent, and Garcia will executive produce. The film is set to be released by Warner Bros. on June 8, 2018.

The original “Godzilla,” produced by Toho Studios and directed by Ishiro Honda, was released in 1954 and spawned 27 sequels, including “King Kong vs. Godzilla” (1962) and, most recently, “Godzilla: Final Wars” (2004), which marked the 50th anniversary of the franchise. Toho is producing a reboot to be released next year. An American version of “Godzilla,” directed by Roland Emmerich, was released in 1998 and was slammed by critics and fans.

“Rodan” came out in 1956, “Mothra” in 1961, and “Ghidorah, the Three-headed Monster” in 1964, all directed by Honda. All three monsters appeared in several sequels.

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