After their first film, The Pokémon Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, was an instant success, The Pokémon company continued to release many more fantastic animated movies over the years. This is also coupled with the ever-growing anime series, which has failed to be anything less than great.
And now, it looks like Pokémon will be coming to the big screen in the form of a live-action movie!
The rights to this new and exciting film are currently being held at an auction by The Pokémon Company, and it is said to be nearing a close.
Several companies have expressed an interest in this project, including Warner Bros. and Sony. As they were the ones to release the first movie back in 1999, Warner Bros. was originally one of the favourites in this auction.
However, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Legendary Entertainment is emerging as the lead contender for the rights to this new movie. Founded by Thomas Tull in 2000, Legendary Entertainment has produced many popular feature films, such as Jurassic World, Godzilla, and The Dark Knight.
Interestingly, in 2005 they formed an agreement with Warner Bros. to co-produce and co-finance films. Since 2016, however, Legendary has been owned by the Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group.
This is where we may have cause for concern. A Chinese-owned company gaining the rights to a much-loved Japanese franchise doesn’t seem like the best of ideas.
Legendary Entertainment have had dealings with Japanese film companies in the past; they worked with Toho Co. Ltd. to create Toho’s most famous creation: Godzilla. In fact, this was actually a three-way collaboration between Toho, Legendary, and Warner Bros.
However, it was only recently that China lifted their ban on Japanese films, which had been in effect for three years. The tensions between China and Japan are still present, and this may pose an issue for Legendary securing the rights to this new live-action Pokémon movie.
The three competing companies have all declined to comment on the situation.