A lot of industry insiders and analysts were shocked when it was announced that Netflix were developing a live-action Pokémon show, and it had nothing to do with the project itself. In fact, a streaming series based on the massively popular property is a no-brainer if ever there was one, but most people were expecting it to end up on HBO Max.
Legendary acquired the live-action rights to Pokémon in 2016, and the production company has a long and lucrative working relationship with Warner Bros. that’s been in place for years. However, tensions flared when Legendary were blocked from selling Godzilla vs. Kong to Netflix for $250 million, only for WB to turn around and put it on their own platform instead, a decision that almost resulted in legal action.
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There had been rumors that Pokémon was in development for HBO Max after Detective Pikachu‘s planned sequel stalled despite being announced before the first movie had even been released, but we’re now hearing from our sources – the same ones who told us Riri Williams would debut in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever long before it was confirmed – that WB are said to be furious at losing out on what has the potential to be one of the biggest shows on the planet.
According to our information, WarnerMedia believed they’d be the beneficiaries of any live-action Pokémon TV shows due to their long term partnership with Legendary, only for the production house to sign with Netflix instead. It’s too late for them to do anything about it now, but it’ll be interesting to see how things go the next time the two parties are forced to enter negotiations to partner up on a high profile feature or show.