Film Described as "'Godzilla' Meets 'Lost in Translation'" Sued for Being Described as That

May 20, 2015


A film that's been described as "Godzilla meets Lost in Translation" is now facing a legal battle from a company worried that someone is actually making that.

The film in question is Colossal, which last week it was announced will star Anne Hathaway as a fed-up New Yorker whose mind is somehow connected to a faraway giant monster attack in Tokyo. A year ago, writer-director Nacho Vigalondo called it "the cheapest Godzilla movie ever," and more recently, it's been dubbed both "Godzilla meets Lost in Translation" and "Godzilla meets Being John Malkovich." And now that the film is officially on the market at Cannes and drawing buzz for these intriguing descriptions, Godzilla rights owners Toho have filed a lawsuit against making a film that's Godzilla meets anything at all.

Their claims may seem fairly frivolous at the surface--it's not like they own the rights to giant monster movies in general--but it turns out that Voltage Pictures has been really pushing the "Godzilla" angle in trying to get financing and distribution for their movie. According to Toho, Voltage has sent out emails and a booklet with actual stills from the recent Godzilla reboot. The official synopsis included in these promotional items apparently outright says that "Tokyo is under attack by Godzilla." It's clearly meant as shorthand to present the idea clearly to buyers, but you can understand why Toho would be annoyed nonetheless, seeing their property become the "Kleenex" of Japan-destroying monsters.

And the company wants more than just an end to mentions of "Godzilla" in Colossal materials. THR reports that Toho's lawsuit, filed Tuesday in California federal court, is "suing for copyright and trademark infringements, trademark dilution, Lanham Act violations, unfair competition and unjust enrichment." They want unspecified damages as well as a halt to Voltage's production on the film.

Voltage has not yet responded to why they couldn't just call this "non-specific giant lizard meets any of various unspecified films shot by Lance Acord."

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