In today’s fast-moving culture, it takes a lot to grab people’s interests but Pokemon Go, the mobile AR game, has done just that in the past few days since its release. Everybody and their mom seems to be playing it, bringing the beloved property back to the forefront. The ’90s phenomenon has Hollywood, always the trend-chaser, intensifying efforts for a Pokemon film and now Deadline reports Legendary Pictures is the closest to obtaining the rights to the venerable franchise, which has included animated shows and films, trading cards and various other media.
Details are few and no deal is closed, though Deadline expects it to happen. According to the site, Max Landis (busy tweeting up a storm today about his aborted version of last weekend’s Ghostbusters) was one writer mentioned in regards to the project as it has made its way through acquisition negotiations. It isn’t clear if Go will actually have anything to do with the movie, other than convincing Hollywood that a movie needs to happen.
There have been rumors of a live-action Pokemon film for years, a given by virtue of the wide net it casts in gaming, merchandising and elsewhere. The creative and commercial failure of similar properties like Dragonball Evolution gave Hollywood cold feet until Go came around and showed everyone that, yeah, people still really care about Pokemon. Legendary is about as good a studio for the IP one could find, with its experience in genre/creature feature fare like Pacific Rim, Godzilla, Warcraft and the upcoming Kong: Skull Island.
With new films like this, Ghost in the Shell and the in-development Akira, Japanese anime could be the new frontier of material for Hollywood to mine for content. Biggest question for me: when are we getting the live-action Yu-Gi-Oh and/or DBZ movie news?