Based on the response to the trailer, a lot of people are looking forward to the release of Godzilla vs. Kong next month. This is likely good news for studio Warner Bros. as the movie follows on the somewhat lukewarm audience response to the previous film in the franchise, Godzilla: King of the Monsters. That film made $386 million at the global box office, far less than other franchise entries Godzilla and Kong: Skull Island. However, Godzilla vs. Kong director Adam Wingard says that the response to the last movie didn't cause anything to change for the new movie, for the simple reason that Godzilla vs. Kong was always planned to be something a little different.
Godzilla vs Kong will be the fourth film in this modern franchise, and Adam Wingard marks the fourth director in the series. While there may be story elements between each installment which keep the narrative together, the tone of each movie has been quite different. That's been by design, as Adam Wingard recently explained in a Zoom roundtable that CinemaBlend attended, there was no need to change the plan for Godzilla vs. Kong. Namely because the plan was always for this to be something different than King of the Monsters, especially related to its bright colors. Wingard explains,
Well, I mean, one of the reasons why they brought me on is I think a follow up to King of Monsters is because I am so different than Michael Dougherty as a director, I mean he definitely leans more into the kind of horror realm, and his approach to Godzilla is really kind of scary in a lot of ways, and I think that they knew that the next film after that had to be different regardless of how it was going to be received, and I think I was kind of chosen ultimately because my take was always going to be very tonally very fun, and, colorful and all those kinds of things, and so fortunately it didn't really affect us too much in a literal way.
Whenever a big tentpole movie fails to connect with audiences there will always be questions about how and why that happened. Those issues are often then addressed in any sequels or similar movies. In the case of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, making major changes to its sequel would have been tough, as Godzilla vs Kong was already filming when King of the Monsters was released. But even if making changes had been easy, Adam Wingard doesn't think they would have happened.
Some of the criticism of Godzilla: King of the Monsters is that the film was too dark, both in terms of tone and actual lighting-- which was clearly a very intentional choice at the time. We can tell from the trailer for Godzilla vs. Kong this movie will look and feel differently, but that was always the plan. However, the director does say that he was conscious of the criticisms of the last movie. Perhaps they did impact this film, even subconsciously. Wingard goes on...
Like there wasn't like a major course correction in terms of what the film was going to be about or how we had to approach certain action scenes or any of that kind of stuff, because fortunately we were kind of already doing our own thing and it just sort of matched up with what it felt like people had kind of been wanting anyways, you know, like, I mean, obviously I'm aware of like the... You know, some of the stuff where, you know, people felt like the movie was like too dark in places, or there was too many particle effects and stuff.
Of course, if you actually liked Godzilla: King of the Monsters (and I did) you have to wonder if going in this different direction will actually work out. The studio wants to appeal to the widest possible audience, but you can rarely really make everybody happy. We'll find out how well Godzilla vs. Kong works when the movie arrives in theaters and on HBO Max on March 31.