The series was revamped in 1985 with "Godzilla 1985"; this movie was created as a direct sequel to the 1954 film, and ignores the continuity of the previous sequels. Known as the Heisei series (for the ruling emperor of the time), the continuity ended in 1995's Godzilla vs. Destroyah after a run of seven films. The reason for the continuity shift was based on a realization that the marketing of the movies had removed the reason it was so loved. When it was discovered that Godzilla was popular with children, sequels were toned down in obvious screen violence, and Godzilla was made out to be a good guy instead of an indestructible abomination of the mistakes of Man. Characters such as "son of Godzilla" (a dimunitive chubby replica who blew smoke rings) were introduced. However, the further Godzilla was taken away from his roots, the less popular he became. Hence, Godzilla 1985 brought the series back to form.
Films have been made over the last 5 decades, each reflecting the social and political climate in Japan. All but 1 of the 26 films were produced by Toho, a version was made in 1998 and set in the United States by the makers of Independence Day (ID4) and is widely despised by most Godzilla fans. Toho immediately followed it with Godzilla 2000, which began the current series of films, known informally as the Millennium series.
Much of Godzilla's popularity in America can be credited with TV broadcasts of the Toho Studios monster movies during the 1960s and 1970s. The American company UPA contracted with Toho to distribute its monster movies of the time, and UPA continues to hold the license today for the Godzilla films of the 1960s and 1970s.