Back in April, we reported that a bidding war was underway to acquire the rights to a Pokemon movie. Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Legendary were among the interested studios, and now it looks like a frontrunner has emerged.
According to Deadline, Legendary Pictures is in the lead to acquire the rights to make a live-action movie based on the popular Nintendo video game. For those who have never played Pokemon, you play as a young trainer who is tasked with catching adorable monsters and them pitting them against each other in battle. It’s like cockfighting but adorable.
There’s been a surge of interest in Pokemon in the past several days since the release of the popular app, Pokemon GO, which is an AR game that puts Pokemon in the real world and you can see them on your smartphone screen. It shows that Pokemon has a huge base of interest, and that brand awareness is a huge boon to any production studio.
However, things haven’t been nailed down just yet. Deadline reports “Details are scant at this point, and no deal has been closed, but I am persuaded that it’s headed that way. Attempts to get comment from Legendary were unavailing, and calls to Pokemon USA were not returned.”
If a movie comes together, it will be huge not just for Pokemon, but for Nintendo, which hasn’t allowed any of its properties to be adapted into Hollywood movies since the disastrous live-action Super Mario Bros. movie. For its part, Legendary studios saw mixed success with its video game adaptation of Warcraft earlier this year, a film that tanked in the U.S., but was a smashing success in China.
But while Warcraft is steeped in mythology and the movie suffers a bit for trying to address all that mythology, Pokemon could be a much easier sell. It’s kid-friendly, could easily fit in the formula of a sports film, and is designed to reach a wide audience. If the deal does go through and Legendary ends up with the rights, I’ll be curious to find out how much they paid. If a Pokemon movie becomes a reality, it will probably be a steal.