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When looking at the different release dates of Hollywood's 2014 take on Godzilla, it appears as quite striking that the release for Japan is signifantly later, more than 2 months to be precise, than those for the rest of the world, which are all around the middle of May.

I usually don't care that much about release dates, but seeing that it is a Hollywood version of an iconic part of modern Japanese culture, I wondered if there is any official word why this release is so significantly later than all the others. While skepsis about the new version could be a factor, the movie on the other hand, and in contrast to Emmerich's 1998 take, has been more or less sanctioned by Toho Studios, the makers of the Japanese original(s), up to the point of collaboration.

(And please forgive me for ignoring China in the list, whose release date lies in between the Japanese and the others. This was only to simplify the question a bit and to concentrate on the contextually more important Japan. But maybe the reason for the Chinese delay is somehow related?)

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1 Answer 1

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I've no definitive answer, but here's an interesting article with a suggested reason:

Japan, however, will be the last major market to view the latest Hollywood iteration of the iconic franchise that Toho [a Japanese film, production and distribution company] launched in 1954 with the first of 28 made-in-Japan Godzilla pics: The studio plans to release “Godzilla” on July 25, nearly six weeks after its U.S. bow, but not out of any uncertainty about its success.

“That’s just the best timing,” explains Ogura [A Toho PR Rep]. “It’s when big movies are released here.”

One recent example is the Hayao Miyazaki animation “The Wind Rises,” a Toho release that opened on July 20, 2013, and became the year’s highest-earning pic with $117 million.

One reason for this timing is that Japanese schools do not begin their summer break until mid-July. But Toho, Ogura emphasizes, does not consider “Godzilla” kiddie fare. “Of course, children will be able to see it – it’s rated for all ages,” he says, “but our primary target is adults.”

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Well, of course we can't ever see anyone's true motives and thoughts, but an official PR-statement seems like a "definitive" enough answer to me. –  Napoleon Wilson May 21 at 15:52
    
@NapoleonWilson: My thoughts too :) –  Andrew Martin May 21 at 15:53
    
I took the freedom to add some highlights of the actual answer. –  Napoleon Wilson May 21 at 15:55
    
@NapoleonWilson: Many thanks. –  Andrew Martin May 21 at 15:59
    
I guess an additional factor was also that Japan is the only country where a dedicated different studio releases it, instead of Legendary/Warner. Thus they have probably more freedom/desire in adapting to local interests rather than some otherwise global release strategy. That's probably why Japan is such an outlier. Still I wonder about China, but well, that wasn't the question anyway. –  Napoleon Wilson May 22 at 9:28

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