Pokemon Go is turning into a bona fide phenomenon — and as a result, major movie studios have renewed the battle over the rights to a cinematic adaptation.
Over the past few days, Pokemon Go has demonstrated just how popular the Pokemon franchise is. Players who haven’t played the mainline games in years have been drawn back in via the app, and that’s causing observers from outside the video game industry to take notice.
Nintendo’s stock has skyrocketed in the wake of the game’s release, and now other companies are looking to get in on that success. Now, there’s word that negotiations pertaining to a possible film adaptation of the franchise are heating up thanks to the renewed relevance of the Pokemon brand.
Legendary Pictures, the studio that produced genre pictures including Batman Begins, Pacific Rim, and this year’s adaptation of Warcraft, apparently leads the pack chasing a deal. However, there are several other studios making a play for the rights, according to a report from Deadline.
This fierce competition will no doubt help Nintendo negotiate an agreement that’s fiscally rewarding. The renewed popularity of Pokemon, as well as the number of studios vying for contention, has prompted expectations that the deal could set a new record for the amount paid to adapt a video game property.
Of course, if any franchise can warrant a record-breaking sum of money, it’s Pokemon. The series has played a huge part in the success of Nintendo’s handheld systems over the past two decades, and the immediate impact of Go demonstrates that the brand is still attractive to mainstream audiences.
At this point of the process, there’s very little detail as to what the Pokemon movie would consist of, although it’s expected to be a live-action release. Chronicle and American Ultra scribe Max Landis is being tipped as a likely screenwriter, although he’s by no means confirmed to be involved.
The most interesting aspect of this news is that it directly contradicts comments made by Shigeru Miyamoto in recent weeks. Speaking at Nintendo’s annual shareholder meeting, Miyamoto suggested that the company would be looking to develop its video output in-house, rather than selling off the rights to an independent production company.
However, the potential for a live-action Pokemon movie produced by a major Hollywood studio is perhaps too much for Nintendo to resist. This project could be a huge international hit — but creating a movie that pleases hardcore fans and mainstream audiences alike will be no small feat.