Jan de Bont, director of hit ’90s films Speed and Twister, says his Godzilla movie from TriStar was never made because the budget was too high.
Speed and Twister director Jan de Bont has revealed why his Godzilla movie was never made. The King of the Monsters recently celebrated his 66th anniversary. November 3, 1954, saw the release of the original Godzilla. From there, a successful franchise was born. Godzilla vs. Kong will be released next year, as well as a new anime series.
In 1998, TriStar Pictures released the first American take on the Godzilla series. Directed by Roland Emmerich, Godzilla told the story of New York City having to deal with a giant mutated iguana. The film continues to live on in infamy among fans. Although the movie didn’t do badly financially, it was not received well by critics or audiences. A fair comparison is what Dragonball Evolution is to fans: an adaptation so disrespectful to the source material, it’s unfathomable how it was made. Interestingly, the 1998 film was not TriStar’s first attempt at making a Godzilla production. TriStar planned to release a Godzilla movie earlier directed by de Bont, with the script written by Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio. Godzilla would have appeared far more accurate to his Japanese counterpart. He also would have battled another monster called the Gryphon. Unfortunately, de Bont’s film was never made.
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In an interview with Polygon, de Bont discussed his canceled take on Godzilla. According to the Speed director, TriStar didn’t go forward with it due to the budget.
“I went to Japan, I met with the people at the studio, and they loved my version. It was basically that the visual effects at the time, and also special effects — like the way they did in the [original] Godzilla movies, which, I had copies of all of them — it became a battle about the budget. So the person who ended up doing the movie said that he could do it for like $40-50 million less than my budget. Mine was, I think, around $100 million or so. Of course, that never happens — and his film ended up costing almost twice as much as my budget. Unfortunately, they believed him.”
De Bont continued by saying how his version “stayed true” to the classic Godzilla films, and it was “really far into pre-production” before it was axed due to the budget. De Bont also brings up the irony that TriStar later ended up spending twice as much on Emmerich’s version. Although de Bont’s movie was never made, a graphic novel adaptation based on the screenplay was created in 2018. It is available at Kaijuphile for those curious to see what de Bont’s Godzilla could have looked like.
It is fascinating hearing de Bont talk about his Godzilla project, and the irony of TriStar later spending a lot more money on the 1998 critical failure. Although most fans probably would have preferred to see de Bont’s movie, it is interesting to consider what the 1998 film contributed to the franchise. Without 1998’s Godzilla, TOHO probably wouldn’t have made Godzilla 2000. Meanwhile, would the MonsterVerse be alive today if de Bont’s film had been made? It’s hard to say, but either way, de Bont’s Godzilla will remain a fun topic among fans. It would certainly be a callback if Godzilla ever battles a Gryphon-like creature in a future project.
Next: Everything We Know About Godzilla vs Kong
Key Release Dates
- Godzilla vs. Kong (2021)Release date: May 21, 2020
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