Launched in May 2014 with the Godzilla reboot, Legendary Pictures has tapped into two of the biggest – in terms of size and recognizability – cinematic beasts to create what’s reportedly a rather profitable MonsterVerse. Kong: Skull Island, a Godzilla sequel, was followed by what the Movie Blog review aptly called a “Monster Slobberknocker” with Godzilla vs. Kong.
Four CGI-heavy movies over seven years have pit two of the most popular titanic monsters against fellow massive threats to humanity and each other. In November 2022, initial filming for Godzilla vs. Kong 2 wrapped, getting fans excited for the next installment of this arm of the Godzilla and King Kong legacy. However, it’s not the only thing going on in the MonsterVerse.
Legendary figures continue to be huge draws everywhere
Both Godzilla and King Kong are unique in their licensing to Western moviemakers and fellow entertainment producers. Godzilla and all of his kaiju kin continue to be owned by Japanese studio Toho, which licenses the rights to Legendary Pictures. As Legendary Pictures aren’t owned by one of the increasingly bloated media conglomerates, they can make content for any distributor or platform that they want. As for King Kong, the great ape’s copyright wasn’t renewed by its creator as far back as the 1930s, and so, Kong is basically a public domain creation now.
So, while the MonsterVerse from Legendary is easily the most recognizable use of Godzilla, Kong, and the Titans in Western markets, several other creatives have played with the characters as well. This can be seen in the competitive world of slot gaming, which is prevalent in some US states. Popular slots like Primate Kind and Zillard King are obvious replicas of the iconic pair of movie characters. The popularity of these games can largely be put down to the cultural reference. But of course, appealing offers across certain states like the range of New Jersey online casino promotions, have an impact too.
Over in Japan, Toho continues to make kaiju movies under their own license. The most recent came out in 2016, Shin Godzilla, which received a fairly strong Metacritic score for a Japanese live-action drama. In the middle of last year, BeeCruise opened its very own Godzilla Global Flagship Store, which sells officially licensed Godzilla goods that are sold in Japan.
A profitable and expanding MonsterVerse
The MonsterVerse currently spans four movies, none of which failed to at least double the production budget at the worldwide box office. Kong: Skull Island made $561 million, Godzilla clocked in at $529 million, and its sequel didn’t fare as well with $383 million from a $170 million budget, but Godzilla vs. Kong in 2021 made $468 million from the smallest budget of the series yet ($155 million). A fifth entry to the movie line will arrive on March 15, 2024.
Until then, or possibly after, the MonsterVerse will be expanding beyond the big screen. Last year, three different MonsterVerse series were announced to be made for three different streaming platforms. While this isn’t going to be taken well by dedicated fans as they now need three subscriptions, it does show the superb draw of Kong and Godzilla. Disney+ will get a live-action show, as will Apple TV+, while Netflix is creating an animated Skull Island show.
Both Godzilla and Kong remain huge draws, and Legendary looks to continue to capitalize on this with a whole host of new movies and shows to expand the MonsterVerse further.