Anne Hathaway is destroying Tokyo, and Japanese movie studio Toho isn't happy about it. Hathaway stars in Voltage Pictures' Colossal, a monster movie currently playing at Cannes Film Festival, in which the American actress finds her mind somehow connected to the brain of a Godzilla-esque figure that's flattening Japan's capital city. While Colossal certainly isn't the first movie to feature a king-sized kaiju, Toho — which created and owns the character — says Voltage is knowingly using references to Godzilla to make the movie look more enticing to buyers on the festival circuit.
Colossal's director said it would be "a serious Godzilla movie."
Toho's complaint, filed on Tuesday in California federal court, says Voltage is "brazenly producing, advertising, and selling an unauthorized Godzilla film of their own." The Japanese company points specifically to comments made by Colossal's writer and director Nacho Vigalondo in August 2014, in which he said his film would be "a serious Godzilla movie," but promised it would be "the cheapest Godzilla movie ever." Toho also claims that Colossal used images from the recent Godzilla reboot as part of a pitch email sent to potential investors, sales agents, and distributors, and argues that Voltage used the copyrighted line "Tokyo is under attack by Godzilla" in its Cannes sales booklet.
When does a monster become a kaiju? And when does a kaiju become a Godzilla? Certainly other movies have walked the line between giant spiky atomic dinosaur monster and Godzilla with greater care, but Toho says it's just doing what Voltage would do. The American studio is headed by Nicolas Chartier, an Oscar-winning movie maker who The Hollywood Reporter says "may well be the individual most responsible for an exponential growth of copyright litigation in the US," having filed lawsuits against tens of thousands of individuals for sharing files online.