Who in Hollywood Will Catch ‘Pokemon’ Movie Rights?

A studio stalemate in April still has no clear winner, but Legendary looks likely to capture the franchise

Last Updated: July 12, 2016 @ 7:27 PM

The global “Pokemon Go” explosion isn’t just resonating on the street and in the app store — Hollywood hopes that a lot of Pokemon fans will wander into a cineplex.

But who owns the film rights to a 20-year-old animated franchise that suddenly has the masses captivated and Nintendo’s stock jumping?

In April, long before the augmented reality app would overtake Tinder in downloads and reportedly boast the same 310 million active users as Twitter, three movie companies were vying for live-action movie rights to the anime pocket monsters: Warner Bros., Sony Pictures and Thomas Tull‘s Legendary Pictures.

Legendary was and is the strongest suitor for the property, an individual familiar with the ongoing negotiations told TheWrap. A second individual confirmed Warner Bros. had been in the running, but isn’t a likely fit. While reports indicated Sony was eager to spend top dollar for the prize, a knowledgeable insider said the studio was never really in the race.

None of the parties involved would say how much Pokemon Company is demanding for movie rights, but given no deal was made during April’s talks, that figure could be inflated following the staggering success of “Pokemon Go.”

Reps for all three companies did not return TheWrap’s request for comment. The Pokemon Company, a group of investors including Nintendo, which owns the copyright, also did not respond.

A live-action Pokemon series would be a big win for Legendary, formally acquired for around $3.5 billion in January by the Dalian Wanda Group.

The company’s slate currently includes two “Godzilla” films and a sequel to alien action film “Pacific Rim.”