A top-secret auction for film rights to the Pokemon franchise is nearing completion with Thomas Tull’s Legendary Entertainment attempting to nudge aside Warner Bros., which has pursued the property aggressively, according to sources. Sony also is said to be very interested.
A spokesperson for Legendary, which since January is a division of China's Dalian Wanda Group, declined to comment. But the notion of a Chinese-owned company acquiring a beloved Japanese property could raise a stir given historic tensions between the two countries.
The Pokemon Co., the Japanese outfit that manages the rights to the franchise spun from the hit Nintendo game, has been courting Hollywood to launch a big-budget live-action movie. Warner Bros. was among the early favorites to take the task on considering it already released the animated Pokemon: The First Movie in 1999 (it grossed $165 million worldwide) and two low-budget sequels.