Deploying lawyers and agents—the colorful, cutely ferocious lightning mice of the movie negotiating world—three major studios are fighting for the rights to make live-action movies based on Nintendo’s Pokémon games. Sony is apparently ”strongly interested” in a secret auction currently being held by The Pokémon Company, the joint corporation that publishes the long-running series of games and controls things like movie and animation rights. But the media giant’s bid is being challenged by Warner Bros., who’d like to continue the relationship that lead to its profitable distribution of Pokémon: The First Movie back in 1998, and “secure them in their entirety,” in the parlance of the series.
The biggest push, though, is coming from Legendary Entertainment, which would serve as an interesting test case for the bearing of international tensions on movie studio finances. Legendary was acquired back in January by Chinese real estate titan the Wanda Group. But tensions between Japan and China have been high for years, with the larger country often refusing to allow Japanese films to be imported to the mainland. It’ll be interesting to see how this potential deal for a distinctly Japanese property like Pokémon will be affected by the various diplomatic skirmishes being waged between the two countries, or whether the franchise’s drawing power will be as super effective against nationalistic concerns as money-type abilities usually are.