There have been a number of animated Pokemon movies released over the years, namely Pokemon: The First Movie in 1998 featuring Mewtwo as a Magneto type who saw Pokemon as the superior species and mowed through anyone who stood in the way of his plans. Now there’s talk of a live-action franchise heading to the big screen stemming from an epic bidding war playing out between studios.
While Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. are contenders to “be the very best like no one ever was,” The Hollywood Reporter notes that Legendary Entertainment is emerging as a potential frontrunner to acquire the film rights to Pokemon. Strictly on name alone, this could be awesome because then we could call it Legendary’s Pokemon as a play on the Legendary Pokemon lineup of creatures. (Sorry not sorry!) But, in a more serious sense, this possible outcome could cause some tension. Pokemon is a product of Japan and Legendary is owned by China’s Dalian Wanda Group, and there has been tension between the two countries.
Whomsoever holds the movie rights to Pokemon could potentially be given the key to vast box office riches. If you think about the gaming side, Nintendo is the sole producer of Pokemon video games, and sales from this property still rank among the company’s highest. The interest is clearly there, though this live-action film concept will be a test run to see whether it can spill over to (1) an on-going cinematic franchise and (2) whether the live-action approach is something that can even sustain Pokemon. Back in my day, there were only a 151 Pokemon to catch. Now there are too many to count with more games (including mobile) and adjoining entertainment being developed by the year. So, perhaps the answer to both those questions has and will always be, yes.
Now, let’s listen to the classic Pokemon theme song because it’s still amazing.