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Godzilla's Rocking Chair Awaits - Business Week, April 12, 2004

Godzilla

After a half-century of fire-breathing terror, Godzilla is about to be packed off to the old-age home. Toho, the studio that created the nuclear-spawned monster, says it's time for Godzilla -- Gojira in Japanese -- to retire. Why? In an era of computer-generated graphics and ever-more-realistic animation, the campy film series featuring the not-so-jolly green giant doesn't have the appeal it once did. Only 1.1 million people saw last year's Tokyo S.O.S. That's down 35% from the previous installment and just a fraction of the 10 million-plus viewers the flicks drew in the 1960s and '70s at the peak of their popularity.

Monster lovers, don't despair. Godzilla has had a good run, attracting 100 million viewers in Japan alone over the years. A grand finale -- Toho's 28th Godzilla film -- will hit Japanese theaters in December. The plot will include battles with familiar foes from years past. As always, there's an environmental message: Godzilla is fighting to save the planet from the ravages of industrialization, says producer Shogo Tomiyama.

He swears the retirement is for real, though the monster has been put out to pasture before, only to return. So the next time the earth is in trouble, don't be surprised to see Godzilla come to the rescue again.

By David Rocks and Hiroko Tashiro

Copyright 2004 Business Week


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