Hollywood is Working on Pókemon Go Movie

Posted 2016/07/14 5308 0

The worldwide success of Nintendo’s mobile game Pokémon Go has led to renewed talks over a live-action movie.


Pokemon Go is everywhere. Since launching in the United States last week (July 6), the game has been downloaded about 8 million times, topping the Apple app store and Google Play store faster than any other game ever has. It’s added a preposterous $11 billion to Nintendo’s market value almost overnight. Unsurprisingly, given how successful the launch of the Pokémon Go app has been, film studios are already circling, trying to secure the rights to a spin-off movie.

Although Warner Bros and Sony Pictures are understood to be extremely interested, it is Legendary Pictures who, according to Deadline, is moving toward a deal to land the rights to make a live-action film based on the decades-old pocket monster game from Japan that has gotten a giant second wind since the release of the new app. Details are scant at this point, and no deal has been closed, but it’s headed that way. Attempts to get comment from Legendary were unavailing, and calls to Pokemon USA were not returned.

Legendary gained considerable attention when it helped shepherd Christopher Nolan's vision for Batman to the big screen, and has largely focused on franchise-style ideas, including Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim. But lately, it's owed success much more to international rather than US audiences. Warcraft tanked in the US, but did blockbuster business in China. Pacific Rim similarly underperformed at the domestic box office, only to earn a sequel thanks to big audiences in China and Japan.

The company's focus on international audiences was so strong that Legendary Entertainment was purchased by China's Wanda Group earlier this year for $3.5 billion. In April, however, The Hollywood Reporter noted that, because Legendary Pictures is part of China's Dalian Wanda Group, any deal with Nintendo could be scuppered by "political tensions".

The Pokémon franchise has had mixed success at the box office. Pokémon: The First Movie took $163m worldwide in 1999, but the most recent film, Pokemon Heroes, brought in just $28m four years later. However, fans have been clamoring for a live-action Pokemon movie for a long time, and it sounds like Pokemon Go just might be the key to finally getting off the ground. After all, just over a week into the game’s release in the world, some tech savvy players appear to have discovered a partnership with McDonald’s on the horizon with even more sponsored locations coming to the game in the future. So it would only make sense for Nintendo to take advantage of all possible exploitation of Pokemon at this point and strike while the iron is hot.