Jump to content


How did "Pokemon: The Movie" do so good at the box office?

Recommended Posts

When you think about it, it was one of the bigger animated hits of 1999 and also one of the biggest Non-Disney 2D animated films of the 90's. It's also an anime-film.


It opened pretty big at the box office with $31M OW, which was a higher opening than nearly all the 2D Disney-films...except for The Lion King ($40M) & Tarzan ($34M) (which the latter came out the same year).


Wow! $31M OW for the Pokemon movie. It's higher than the openings of The Rescuers Down Under ($3M), Beauty and the Beast ($9M), Aladdin ($19M), Pocahontas ($29M), The Hunchback of Notre Dame ($21.0M), Hercules ($21.5M) & Mulan ($22M).


And it finished with $85M DOM & $163M WW...which at the time was the third biggest 2D Non-Disney film WW-wise behind Dreamworks's "The Prince of Egypt" which that made $218M WW & Warner Bros's "Space Jam" which made $230M WW.


My theories:


1. Good marketing played a factor for Pokemon: The Movie. Plus, the appeal from children was there thanks to characters like Pikachu, for example.


2. The Pokemon franchise was just getting started with the first season of the anime-series.


If anyone else have other theories & factors on why it opened big and did good at the box office....comment down below.

Edited by MrFanaticGuy34
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's only one answer: 1999 was the height of Pokemon's popularity (excepting possibly the Pokemon Go fad of last summer). Anyone who had a Game Boy owned at least one Pokemon game, and the anime was one of the most popular kids cartoons.



Edited by tribefan695
  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/2/2017 at 1:42 PM, SchumacherFTW said:

I'm kinda surprised that the movie wasn't bigger in the west. I mean, how crazy big a deal was that movie to all of us back in the 90s?! Seems like it should have done $100m tbh. 

I agree with this. Pokemon was HUGE back in the day. I think how popular Pokemon Go was last summer shows that.


I don't think the question is how did it do so good, I think the question is how didn't it do even better than it did.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pokemon really hit a peak that year (I think that "peak" has returned a couple of times since, but that was the first). The anime was getting super high ratings on Kids WB, the video games were selling outrageous amounts of copies, and merchandise was EVERYWHERE. They really did a crazy good job with saturating just about any kind of industry with Pokemon.


The card game was huge with kids too, I remember a ton of kids in my class talking about getting exclusive cards when you buy a ticket.


Probably would have done $100M if Toy Story 2 hadn't clipped it's wings early. What's intersting is adjusted for inflation Pokemon beats stuff like the Spongebob movie. The video games are still huge to this day, but the anime (which this movie was spawned from) was very much a relic of its era.


Arguably a more impressive run for a similar film would have been The Rugrats Movie a year prior. Managed to make $100M even after A Bug's Life released and I think in terms of attendance the only animated adapted movie from tv that beats it is The Simpsons Movie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/3/2017 at 0:19 PM, El Panda Machos said:

Pokémon has been a consistently popular franchise, makes sense the movie did well (although not extraordinarily well).

For an anime film it did pretty great though. Didn't make over 100m, since it was so heavily-frontloaded and more directly targeted towards kids / not very well-received by adults.


I remember the hype for the film being massive too, since Pokemon was huge. Heck they sold old newsletters at my school in the first grade in the cafeteria that were promoting the film, and I even still have one of my old "gold cards", that I got from the movie as well.


I didn't even get to see it opening weekend because the theater was sold-out. As a six year old, I was devastated. I did eventually see it, but a few weeks after at my dads.

Edited by Fancyarcher
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The film was released at the height of the series popularity. I remember having the games and watching the show on Kids WB so I was extremely excited for this film. While I still play the games today, the anime was definitely a product of the times. 

Edited by Twelve
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines. Feel free to read our Privacy Policy as well.