In the year 2048, the human race is forced to leave Earth after decades of losing against Godzilla and other giant monsters. They take a twenty year journey to another planet called Tau Ceti e, but upon arrival, they discover that the planet has become uninhabitable. As living conditions on their ship deteriorate, a young man named Haruo spearheads a movement to return to Earth and take it back from the monsters. The ship successfully makes the return voyage, but the crew discovers that twenty thousand years have passed and Earth's ecosystem has evolved, with Godzilla reigning atop the new food chain.
About the production, co-director Shizuno stated, "From the start, we had the blessing of Toho to not be constrained by previous entries in the franchise, and with the freedom of imagination offered by animation I feel we have come up with a cool new form for Godzilla." On Godzilla's new design, co-director Seshita stated, "With his masses of muscle fibers and unique body tissue to support his enormous bulk, this is an extraordinarily rugged-looking physique. It was an overwhelming presence that reverberated through the whole project, like a fearsome deity that even we who created it must prostrate ourselves before. That is our Godzilla."
A stage event for the film was held at AnimeJapan 2017 on March 26, 2017. The film's directors are scheduled to attend the Annecy International Animation Film Festival to reveal more details regarding the film. In June 2017, a new poster detailing Godzilla's design was revealed with the tagline "Despair Evolves". On August 16, 2017, a new trailer and poster were released with the tagline "Who will go extinct — humans, or Godzilla?"
In March 2017, it was announced that the film will be streamed in 190 countries via Netflix following the film's Japanese theatrical release. Greg Peters, President of Netflix Japan stated, "Working with the best creators such as Toho in bringing Godzilla to Netflix users in over 190 countries marks a major milestone for us". That same month, a teaser poster revealed that the film will be released theatrically in Japan on November 17, 2017.
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters reached #3 at the box office on its opening weekend, earning ¥103 million from 71,200 admissions within two days and is projected to earn an additional ¥500 million.
Brian Ashcraft of the Kotaku website felt that the characters "aren’t all that interesting" but did state that the "anime version of Godzilla is surprisingly effective and frightening" and that despite his complaints, the "overall experience was good" and "It’s not a perfect picture, but it was a powerful proof of concept: Godzilla works as an anime." Matt Schley from The Japan Times praised the film's CG animation, stating, "even skeptics will admit the 3-D version of the king of the monsters looks pretty darn cool" but felt the film wasn't "nearly as thematically ambitious as its predecessor" and concluded by stating, "But still, with its impressive 3-D animation and action sequences, 'Planet of the Monsters' has the makings of something interesting."
Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters is the first film in a planned trilogy. The second film in the trilogy, titled Gojira: Kessen Kidō Zōshoku Toshi, (translations vary from Godzilla: Battle Mobile Breeding City to Godzilla: The City Mechanized for the Final Battle) is scheduled to be released in May 2018 and set to feature Mechagodzilla.
This is the first animated Godzilla film, but not the first animated adaptation of the franchise. The first was an American animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1978. A series of four educational OVAs titled Get Going! Godzilland that featured Godzilla and several other monsters were released in 1994 and 1996. Another American animated series, this time based on the 1998 American Godzilla film, ran from 1998 to 2000.
Released theatrically in Japan, distributed through Netflix's online service in other regions. This in theory allows for a wider distribution, since most Japanese films only get very limited and often belated releases internationally. For example the franchise's previous Japanese entry, Shin Godzilla (2016) was a blockbuster hit in its home, but it was only screened in a few foreign territories, mostly as a limited theatrical run, and in some cases over a year after its original release.
Originally envisioned as an anime series, but the success of Shin Godzilla (2016)'s Japanese theatrical release convinced the creators to combine the narrative into a trilogy of movies and put them into cinemas in Japan.