Shusuke Kaneko, who directed the well-received modern Gamera trilogy, will direct the next Japanese Godzilla film.   The film will be set in 2004, exactly 50 years after Godzilla's first appearance and will feature Mothra, Baragon, and King Ghidorah in addition to the 'King of the Monsters'--Godzilla.  The latest incarnation of Godzilla will involve yet another redesign of the classic monster, which will reportedly harken back to the original Godzilla look. Mr. Kaneko, who singlehandedly revived the Japanese monster movie tradition with his highly successful Gamera series, is ecstatic over the prospect of writing and directing a Godzilla film.  Shooting starts in May, with a Tokyo debut set for December 15, 2001.


Godzilla will once again menace Japan in this latest in a long line of 'kaiju' or 'monster' films that was spawned by the original Godzilla in 1954.  Long before anime became popular here in the States, specialty retailers were able to sell Godzilla merchandise, ranging from three-inch cigarette lighter Godzillas to giant vinyl figures of the 'King' and his court (Mothra, Gamera, Baragon, Ghidorah).  Look for a new wave of Godzilla merchandise to hit the U.S. by early next year.  Also, since the new Godzilla film, (Godzilla-Mothra-King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters, Great Battles, translated literally) will likely receive a very limited theatrical release in the U.S., the DVD and video release could be very exciting products, particularly if there are plenty of behind-the-scenes extras on the DVD.  In fact, the Godzilla backlist, if properly exploited on DVD, could also provide an extremely good opportunity for specialty retailers.  Currently there are five Godzilla DVDs available in the U.S., the oldest being King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), and the most recent, Godzilla 2000.