According to the Hollywood Reporter, major Hollywood studios have entered into a secret bidding war for the live action rights to the Pokemon franchise. Hoping to capitalize on the franchise’s seemingly endless popularity, for Hollywood, a live action film seems too great of a chance to pass up. The current front runner is Legendary Entertainment, who as of January has become a division of China’s Dalian Wanda Group ( a real estate and investment conglomerate), nudging out the mega studio Warner Bros. potential bid. Interestingly, Sony Studios has also been in pursuit of the film rights, which I am sure would send ripples throughout the gaming landscape with its immense irony.
Warner Bros. was an early favorite, due to its previous relationships with The Pokemon Company in distributing the first three animated Pokemon films back in 1999 and later years, but Legendary is now considered to be on the inside track. This could be problematic however, because of the simmering national tensions between China and Japan that have arisen these past few years over territorial disputes, ultimately culminating with China essentially banning all Japanese films from the past three years, only recently relenting. But at the same time, Legendary already has relationships within the Japanese entertainment industry, having developed big screen adaptations of Godzilla in 2014 together with Japan’s Toho Company, and strangely enough, Warner Bros.
Is the world ready for a live action Pokemon? What direction would the film go, and will it be a simple kids movie or a more action oriented all-ages blockbuster? Will this another sad story of Hollywood’s failed development of both video games and anime into live action? How will they even depict the diverse range of monsters? Color me intrigued just by the sheer possibilities of what this could mean. Who knows, maybe, we can finally see Ash actually win the Pokemon League for once.