One hundred years ago, the Titans suddenly appeared and decimated most of humanity. To stop their advance, humanity built walls and lived peacefully there for another 100 years. In the present day, Eren Yeager expresses to his friends, Armin Arlert and Mikasa Ackerman, his desire to leave the Walls and see the outside world. After a failed attempt to leave the walls, Souda, the captain of the Garrison, explains to them that the military is assembling a scouting regiment to explore beyond the walls. However, the Wall is suddenly attacked by the Colossal Titan, who causes a hole in the wall which leads the Titans to enter and rampage. Unable to find Mikasa, Eren assumes she died during the attack.
Two years later, Eren and Armin enter the Scouting Regiment, along with Sasha Braus, Jean Kirstein, and others. The team, led by Military Police Commander: Kubal, move out into one of the towns of the Outer Wall. The group is then attacked by Titans but are saved by Captain Shikishima and Mikasa, who survived the attack from two years ago. Eren eventually confronts Mikasa and she reveals to him that the experience made her realize the world is cruel. After realizing that Mikasa and Shikishima are most likely together, Eren is once again devastated.
The group is attacked once again. Jean attempts to convince Eren to flee but Eren chooses to fight back before losing his leg in the process. Eren manages to save Armin from being eaten but at the cost of his own life. Though crushed by Eren's death, Mikasa keeps fighting until she loses gas and comes face to face with the same Titan that ate Eren. However, a Rogue Titan emerges from within it and begins battling the other Titans. Souda and Mikasa realize that the Titan is Eren and free him before he is absorbed.
Years before, a young Eren is forcibly injected with an experimental serum by his father but soon after Eren's mother discovers this, a military police squad break in and kill Eren's parents but Eren survives with the help of Souda. In the present, Eren is captured by Kubal and his squadron, believing he is a threat to humanity. Armin tries to convince Kubal of Eren's innocence but is ignored. Before Eren is executed, another intelligent Armored Titan appears, seemingly killing Kubal and his squadron before fleeing with Eren. Eren awakens in a mysterious bunker with Shikishima, who reveals the origins of the Titans as a military experiment gone wrong that soon developed into a virus that decimated humanity and his plans to launch a coup against the corrupted government, which Eren agrees to help with.
Eren, Shikishima, and his troops reunite with Mikasa and the others. Shikishima attempts to recruit them into his coup but when the true sinister purpose behind his plan is revealed, Eren backs out. The remaining regiment neutralize Shikishima's troops and Shikishima reveals himself to be the Titan that took Eren earlier. Eren transforms into his Titan form and battles the Armored Titan, with Eren emerging victorious in the end. Titan Eren proceeds to climb the wall and plants a bomb to create a massive blockage to prevent more Titans from entering.
Having survived the earlier attack, Kubal attempts to stop the group but is shot by Sasha, forcing him to transform into the Colossal Titan. As Eren, Jean, and Mikasa battle the Colossal Titan, Shikishima reappears in his Titan form and sacrifices himself by lodges the bomb into the Colossal Titan's mouth, killing them both. The detonation successfully closes the hole in the wall and Eren and Mikasa stand at the top of the wall overlooking the ocean.
In a post-credits scene, footage of the battle with the Colossal Titan is analyzed, in Shikishima's bunker, by an off-screen character, who says that Eren and Mikasa's unpredictability is what makes them "fascinating".Haruma Miura as Eren Yeager
Kiko Mizuhara as Mikasa Ackerman
Hiroki Hasegawa as Shikishima
Kanata Hongō as Armin Arlert
Takahiro Miura as Jean Kirstein
Nanami Sakuraba as Sasha Braus
Satomi Ishihara as Hans
Satoru Matsuo as Sannagi
Pierre Taki as Souda
Jun Kunimura as Kubal
Ayame Misaki as Hiana
Rina Takeda as Lil
Shu Watanabe as Fukushi
Some characters that were featured in the original manga and anime were dropped due to the film's setting having been changed from Germany to Japan.
The film was announced on October 2011, with a planned release date in 2013 and in December of the same year it was announced that it would be a live action film and that Tetsuya Nakashima would direct. On December 2012 it was announced that Nakashima had left as director because of creative differences. On December 2013, Shinji Higuchi was revealed as the new director and Yuusuke Watanabe as the screenwriter.
Principal photography was expected to start in 2014 and the film was now expected to be released in 2015. A car commercial featuring the Titans and directed by Higuchi was also announced and broadcast on January 2014 on Nippon TV, reaching more than 5 million views on YouTube in four days. Haruma Miura was revealed as part of the cast in April and in July it was announced that there would be two films. The first images of the actors in character were revealed in November.
The theme songs of the films are "Anti-Hero" and "SOS", respectively, both performed by Sekai no Owari.
Shiro Sagisu composed and scored an original motion-picture soundtrack, which compiled into one whole soundtrack. The film's soundtrack goes under the name, "Attack on Titan (Shinji Higuchi's Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)".
The first film was released in Japan on August 1, 2015. It has been released by Madman Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand on August 27, 2015. Funimation Entertainment has licensed the rights for both films in North America, Central America, and South America and hosted the world premiere of the first film on 14 July at Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Director Shinji Higuchi and stars Haruma Miura and Kiko Mizuhara attended the red carpet premiere. Funimation had announced its screening dates for the films. Attack on Titan: Part 1 screened in a limited engagement beginning on 30 September 2015 and Attack on Titan: Part 2 screened three weeks later on 20 October 2015. The second part, entitled End of the World, was released on 19 September 2015. It was released on October 1–7 for Australia and New Zealand. For its DVD and Blu-ray release in the United States, Part 1 was released on October 4, 2016 and Part 2 released on December 6, 2016.
A teaser trailer was released in March 2015 and a trailer was released in April. Another trailer was released in June, which revealed that the film will be given an IMAX release in Japan and internationally.
Part I was number-one on its opening weekend, with US$5.1 million. It was the seventh highest-grossing Japanese made film at the Japanese box office in 2015, with ¥3.25 billion (US$27 million). and the 17th highest-grossing film at the Japanese box office for that year. Part II underperformed at the box-office, having grossed ¥2.1 billion less than the total gross of the first film within first three weeks of release. Combined, the films have grossed ¥4.93 billion ($46 million).
Lee Edmund of South China Morning Post, said that the film was "One of the most perversely original fantasy movies in recent memory, this adaptation of a Japanese manga series is a schizophrenic mix of genres." Jacob Hope Chapman of Anime News Network also praised the movie. "Outstanding and immersive aesthetic unlike any other horror movie, swiftly paced and gripping start to finish, sharp script with heavy thematic undertones, holds up completely as its own work of art divorced from the source material." Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku said "The First Attack on Titan Movie Stinks". Piera Chen of The Hollywood Reporter called the film "a visually refreshing blockbuster undermined by clichés." Derek Elley of Film Business Asia gave it a 7 out of 10 rating and called it "a trash-horror fantasy that's a big-budget B picture."
SFX artist Yoshihiro Nishimura and director Shinji Higuchi responded to some critics, with Nishimura responding to unfavourable comparisons of the film's special effects with Hollywood's standards thus: "I'm sorry, but deciding what movies to see based on their budget, and comparing everything to Hollywood, that's like how some people feel secure buying Okame natto when they go to the supermarket". Higuchi referenced one critic of the film's characters, saying "who's the idiot who gave this guy an early release of the film?!"
Attack on Titan: Part 1 received criticism from San Francisco, Ohio, and Wisconsin theater attendees due to a subtitle ("I've been waiting for this day!") freezing in the first ten minutes of the film and continued to stay frozen for a majority of the film due to a software problem. As a consequence, Funimation announced that they would hardsub Part 2 and all future releases. However, others have reported the subtitles working properly in other states. Funimation has reported that fewer than 2% of theaters have been affected by the freeze.
Deadline.com reported that Warner Bros. is in negotiations to secure the film rights to the Attack on Titan franchise. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them producer David Heyman would be on board to produce a proposed two-film project that would remake the 2015 Japanese live-action film adaptations. However, the following day, a Kodansha representative denied this report to be true, but said there were other projects in negotiations.