Animated series breaks the bank

TOKYO — The 11 pics in the “Pokemon” (Pocket Monsters) toon series have collectively broken the ¥50 billion ($455 million) barrier at the Japanese box office to become the highest-earning local feature toon series ever, according to distrib Toho.

The film franchise, which started in 1998, is based on the 1996 Nintendo Game Boy game “Pokemon.”

The latest entry, “Giratina and the Sky’s Bouquet: Shaymin,” has earned $32 million since its July 19 release. 

Pokemon has become a hugely profitable franchise for Nintendo and its partners, generating games, trading cards, CDs, TV shows, pics and character goods.

The first “Pokemon” feature toon earned $85.7 million in the U.S. following its 1999 release, a record for a Japanese pic that has yet to be equaled.

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