Toho, the Japanese entertainment company that owns the rights to "Godzilla," has filed a complaint in California federal court against Voltage Pictures' in-development "Colossal," according to The Hollywood Reporter.
"Colossal," which was shopped at the Cannes Film Festival, follows a woman (Anne Hathaway) who realizes she is psychically linked to a giant lizard that's destroying Tokyo. Toho's complaint calls the film "an unauthorized 'Godzilla' film" and sues for for copyright and trademark infringements, trademark dilution, Lanham Act violations, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.
Writer, director and co-defendant Nacho Vigalondo is cited in the complaint for a response he gave in a 2014 interview, in which he said, "It's going to be the cheapest 'Godzilla' movie ever, I promise. It's going to be a serious 'Godzilla' movie, but I've got an idea that's going to make it so cheap that you will feel betrayed." The film has likewise been described as "Godzilla" meets "Being John Malkovich."
Toho's lawsuit focuses largely on the promotional material used for "Colossal," which made use of a still from the most recent "Godzilla" film, in addition to a document of "Director's Notes" with images from Toho projects. However, it should be noted that directors often use sizzle reels comprised of footage and stills from other movies to help pitch their projects.
The complaint accuses that Voltage Pictures has "knowingly used the Godzilla character to attract interest and attention in their 'Colossal' project so that it would stand out in a crowded field of competitors on the film sales circuit."
If successful, the lawsuit will halt production of "Colossus" and result in other unspecified damages.