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Future of the movies


A Pokémon Enthusiast
Jun 26, 2015
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By the end of this year, it is going to be 3 years without getting any new movies. The COVID-19 has clearly affected the movie: Secrets of the Jungle as its release was postponed to the end of the year, and in the following years we did not get anything.

The movies have been breaking the traditions for a couple of years already. We got an alternative universe after the Volcanion movie with the beginning of Sun & Moon series. Also one time we got a remake of the first movie.

One of the factors why movies have not returned after COVID delay could be the lack of staff during the run of Journeys. Surely we are still not sure if the number of staff issue has even been solved, but one can only speculate what has happened and what will happen.

What do you expect to happen in the following years regarding the movies? Have they been gone for long after "unsuccessful" results in the box office? Could the movies return but not every year? At some point do you think the movies will get back to being yearly like in the past?
Hopefully sometime, a movie a year. When they did the first alternate universe I got a little upset that we didn't get some fun adventure with the Alola gang, but the movie wasn't too bad, the soundtracks and ending in particular was something I adored and became emotional to.
I suspect that a big reason why we haven't gotten any movies since Secrets of the Jungle is because of the lack of staff issue during Journeys' run. If they were struggling with getting weekly episodes out, which was the case given the number of breaks and recap episodes they had during the Master Class tournament, they wouldn't really be able to handle producing a movie. I doubt that the box office results for the is a factor. I don't think that would really matter compared to promoting new Pokemon, especially when they have been doing the movies for decades. I know that Secrets of the Jungle didn't do that well in Japan, but given that it was delayed and the first Demon Slayer movie was still making a ton of money, I don't think that situation would be enough to make them think that movies were no longer profitable enough.

I think that we might eventually get back to having a new movie every year. It depends on how the production has been going for the anime and if any issues they had during Journeys' run has been dealt with. It would also still be a nice way to feature Ash in the anime. Whether it's AU Ash or main series Ash, I think getting to see some of his adventures in a movie would draw more attention and excitement from fans. There would be benefits of only doing the movies every once in awhile. That has led to bigger success for other franchises and it would potentially allow them more time to work on each movie. Although, given that Pokemon movies were such yearly traditions in Japan to the point where I think that was mentioned in some promotional material for Secrets of the Jungle, I think that they might be more interested in eventually returning to that tradition if at all possible.
While I doubt that this has played into anything yet, I wonder if the success of the Mario movie may change some plans for Pokémon movies in the future. As of this writing, the Mario movie has made over one point three billion dollars worldwide. While I know that the Pokémon Company isn't Nintendo, Nintendo does have a pretty big stake in the company, itself, about one third or so if I remember correctly. With the success of the Mario movie, and any success of a potential, and rumored Zelda movie that's getting off the ground, I wonder if Nintendo may apply some pressure to have Illumination do a Pokémon movie since they would have experience making highly successful Nintendo movies and it could help lead into a potential Super Smash Bros. movie, which would almost certainly have Pokémon characters in it given how important the franchise is to Nintendo, and to Smash.

This could especially be the case given the relative tepid success of the last few Pokémon movies, as well as the animé moving away from Ash and introducing Liko and Roy, whose adventure seem to be much more serialized, or at least arc-based, rather than movie-based. While that hasn't stopped other franchises with arc-based or serialized narratives from making movies (i.e. One Piece, My Hero Academia, etc.), I think that a Nintendo Pokémon movie that could have potential connections to a Nintendo Cinematic Universe (assuming Nintendo does, indeed, make one) would have Nintendo wanting more to come out of the movie that could lead to a bigger arc, which could cause them to want to do a whole new story, potentially with new characters, or more familiar game characters like Red, Leaf, and Blue/Green/Gary (if they want to give the rival a more common and familiar name).
The movies were a decent compliment to the anime in the west, but in Japan they were real HUGE juggernauts. A huge chunk of the yearly merchandise was dedicated to them and they were even promoted by big companies like McDonalds and co-produced by Toho (who's also big in the industry, they own the rights to the Godzilla movies). If they are gone it's because a very higher up just did not like them, simply put, I don't think we can blame the pandemic anymore when Jujutsu Kaisen, Demon Slayer and Detective Conan (which is Pokemon's closest competitor in term of long-running status and movie frequency) all broke records during the time, those movie successes should have prompted them to try it at least one more time but...nope.

It's possible they'll come back eventually, but every semester without an announcement means that the idea is being made less and less of a priority and that it will not be the same as before, sadly. We do have Detective Pikachu 2 coming though which is confirmed to being at least have an assigned writter, so there's that, I think Sonic's (relative) sucess will lead to it having a lighter tone.

In case the anime movies come back I'm sure they'll be about either Ash or game characters.
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