Pokemon Envy: Can Lightning Strike Twice?

Anyone who’s seen the possessed look on a seven-year-old’s face playing a Pokemon vid game, or sat through long explanations of the complexities of the Pokemon world by a five year old, will know why Warner Bros. has such hopes for a new Japanese import.

A film based on the animated import Yu-Gi-Oh is on the way. Warner Bros. is reportedly negotiating with Pokemon license agent 4Kids to get worldwide distribution rights (excluding Asia) for the film, currently in production in Japan. U.S. release is expected summer 2004.

As with Pokemon, the Yu-Gi-Oh franchise has generated a line of trading cards, toys and video games as well as a hit TV show on the Kid’s WB Saturday block. Yu-Gi-Oh is based on a Japanese comic book about a boy who gains magical powers and transforms into the title character Yu-Gi-Oh.

For its part, the Pokemon empire has generated an estimated $15 billion in revenue worldwide. The three Pokemon films Warner Bros. released captured over $146 million in domestic box office.