By Patrick Cooley/cleveland.com
Screenwriter and horror director Michael Dougherty is on board to direct the next “Godzilla” movie, several news outlets reported Tuesday.
The filmmaker was previously hired to write the script to “Godzilla 2” along with Zach Shields. The duo also penned the screenplay to the 2015 horror/comedy “Krampus.”
The previous “Godzilla” movie — which hit theaters in 2014 — featured elements of both horror and action films, but putting Dougherty in the director’s chair suggests the sequel will focus on the scarier elements.
The director’s track record with critics and audiences is somewhat mixed.
While “Krampus” didn’t make much of a splash at the box office, critics generally enjoyed it. The film has a 65 percent approval rating on review aggregation site rottentomatoes.com.
Besides “Krampus,” Dougherty has only directed one other full-length film, the 2007 horror anthology film “Trick r’ Treat,” which made only $12 million at the box office against a $13 million budget, but was lavished with critical praise and won several awards.
Dougherty also has writing credits on “X2” — the hit 2003 follow-up to the 2000’s “X-Men” — and last year’s “X-Men: Apocalypse,” which raked in money at the box office but received generally unfavorable reviews.
The highly successful “X2” was the first full-length script Dougherty worked on. His second, the screenplay for the 2005 slasher sequel “Urban Legends: Bloody Mary,” didn’t fare as well. It has a pedestrian 40 percent approval rating on Rottentomatoes.com and wasn’t given a theatrical release.
“Godzilla 2” is the direct sequel to the 2014 reboot simply titled “Godzilla.” The latter is the 30th film in the Godzilla franchise, which began with the classic 1954 film of the same name.
The super lizard often faces off with other giant monsters, and reports have hinted that the upcoming sequel will carry the subtitle “King of the Monsters,” suggesting that the next movie will feature other giant creatures for Godzilla to fight.
“Godzilla 2” hits theaters in 2019.