Pokemon has undoubtedly been a juggernaut for Nintendo. Since it’s launch in 1995, it has went on to become a best-selling franchise and have seen several iterations in the form of cartoons, videogames, trading cards and more.
However, in its 20 years of existence, there has not been a single live-action Pokemon film and it finally seems it’s going to change being that way as reports about a film being on the horizon arise.
It’s not a secret that the company behind the Pokemon series called The Pokemon Company, which handles all things Pokemon along with Game Freak and Nintendo, has been looking for a film studio to collaborate with since years. Now the search seems to have intensified as it is eager to release the first live-action Pokemon film sooner than later.
The Pokemon series has seen 19 animated films since its inception and the company is keen to bring that experience into live-action format now. It is being said that the rights for the film has been put in front of several studios in a ‘top-secret auction’, which has seen bids. And it has come down to two major studios at this point: Sony and Warner Bros – which are two of the biggest studios as far as making films are concerned.
Reports also state that both these studios are now facing competition from a third studio, Thomas Tull’s Legendary Entertainment, which has apparently bid higher than both of them.
However, things aren’t lovey-dovey since Legendary Entertainment has recently been acquired by a China-based corporation called Dalian Wanda for a staggering $3.5 billion. The only catch? China and Japan aren’t the best of friends and since Pokemon is literally the unofficial Japanese mascot, handing Legendary the rights might be an issue.
“There have been long simmering political tensions between Beijing and Tokyo, which most recently peaked with Japan’s criticism of China’s territorial ambitions in the South China Sea. Those pressures have also led to a cultural strain between the two countries in which China effectively banned Japanese films for three years, which was only recently broken.”
Legendary are known to have backed films that resonate with the Asian audience such as Godzilla and Pacific Rim. It’s also bringing out a King Kong reboot that might do well in China and other Asian territories. This was the main reason it caught the attention of the Chinese firm which were to become its eventual owner.
Since it’s the 20th anniversary for the franchise, there’s no better time for The Pokemon Company to announce a live-action film for the series and if these reports are accurate it’s happening soon.
The company recently announced two brand new Pokemon games, Pokemon Sun and Moon and it’s smartphone-based app called Pokemon-Go is also getting ready for release. We’ll have more details as one studio emerges as the ultimate winner and the live-action film becomes a thing.