Netflix is reportedly developing a live-action Pokémon film connected to their upcoming TV series, which will not be connected to Detective Pikachu.
Netflix is reportedly developing a live-action Pokémon movie to tie into their upcoming live-action series. Since it premiered in 1996, Pokémon has been one of the most successful multimedia franchises in history. It has been featured in a large number of video games, trading cards, television series, and even features films, with Pokémon: The First Movie still the highest-grossing anime film at the domestic box office.
Following the popularity resurgence of Pokémon Go in 2016, a live-action film based on the video was fast-tracked. In 2019, Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures released Detective Pikachu based in the world of Pokémon. Despite getting positive reviews from critics and audiences and a respectable box office, the film failed to match the likes of similar nostalgic cartoons turned movies like Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In 2021, Netflix announced they were developing a live-action Pokémon series, a first for the franchise.
According to The Illuminerdi, Netflix is reportedly developing a live-action Pokémon film that will tie into their upcoming Netflix series. The film will not be in continuity with the recently released Detective Pikachu and instead will be a reboot of the franchise. Currently, there’s no word on when the film will premiere or if it will proceed with the television series or after it.
Netflix’s decision to do a live-action Pokémon movie fits in with many of the company’s creative decisions. Netflix has recently invested heavily in a string of high-profile live-action adaptations of popular anime series like One Piece and Cowboy Bebop. The streamer’s previous foray into anime adaptations like Death Note and Fullmetal Alchemist may not have inspired much confidence, but the streamer sees a high value in the market for anime and anime-inspired productions including a big-budget adaptation of Gundam from Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts.
Pokémon also fits in with a wider trend in properties Netflix adapts. While the streamer is focused on getting as many eyes on the service as possible with a wide variety of programming, many of their highest-profile series are adaptations of popular media of the ’90s and 2000s, from adapting Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Event books into a television show after the 2004 film failed to launch a franchise to the recent Fear Street trilogy of films. Netflix also just announced the cast of their live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Many of the streaming service’s choices have been focused on courting a now-adult millennial audience with adaptations of things they remember from their youth. With Pokémon being such a beloved part of many people’s childhood, they are likely willing to watch a film based on the popular series at home, possibly with their own families.