Last week, The Pokemon Company and Nintendo launched the wildly popular Pokemon Go augmented reality app, which has quickly become the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. Just a few days ago, we reported that Legendary Pictures is working on a deal for a live-action Pokemon movie, although the deal is far from being finalized. A new report surfaced today which claims that, despite the massive success of the game, both The Pokemon Group and Nintendo may not be willing to license their property out for a movie adaptation.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which spoke to an unnamed movie producer who is involved in the race to license this franchise, the companies involved are currently focused on the global launch of the app. Pokemon Go has only been released in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, but no further details have been given for the global launch thus far. Here's what this producer had to say about an impending movie deal, which Pokemon and Nintendo think will "detract" from the game's success.
"Pokemon Co. and Nintendo are not focused on movie rights currently. The company doesn't want a movie deal distracting its execs, nor does it want a deal to potentially detract from the game. They view a movie deal only as a downside at this stage."
The potential movie licensing deal would be worth anywhere between $5 million and $10 million, which is just a drop in the bucket compared to the revenue the Pokemon Go app has generated thus far. Thursday morning trading in Tokyo boosted Nintendo's stock another 9%, taking its total gains since the Pokemon Go launch to 65%, adding an estimated $12.8 billion to the company's value. Nintendo has stakes in both The Pokemon Group and San Francisco's Niantic Labs, the company that developed the Pokemon Go app.
While it isn't known when the augmented reality app will launch worldwide, it will certainly add millions of users to the app, which is already at more than 20 million daily users, a figure that is higher than even Twitter's numbers. The launch in Japan is expected to be incredibly important, since The Pokemon Company revealed that roughly 45% of the franchise's total sales, everything from movies, video games, cards and more, comes from Japan. There have also been 19 animated movies released in the Pokemon franchise, which have earned $785 million worldwide, with most of those grosses coming from Japan. The latest Pokemon movie Pokemon the Movie: Volcanion and the Exquisite Magearna, debuts tomorrow in Japan.
This report doesn't mention Legedary's bid for the Pokemon rights, but if this information is true, then it doesn't seem we'll be getting a Pokemon live action movie anytime soon. Pokemon is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, with the company even debuting a Super Bowl commercial to promote the franchise in February. We'll be sure to keep you posted with more updates on this proposed Pokemon movie.