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Pokemon Franchise Expands To The Big Screen

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POKEMON FRANCHISE EXPANDS TO THE BIG SCREEN

Warner Bros. Brings "Pokemon The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back" ; Brand-New Pokemon Introduced Onscreen For First Time in Any Format

BURBANK, - Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to distribute "Pokemon The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back," the first animated Pokemon feature film, to a worldwide audience, excluding Asia. The big- screen version of the immensely popular franchise will be a Kids' WB! Presentation, and will open in theaters throughout North America on November 12, with distribution in the rest of the world to follow. The announcement was made today by Sanford E. Reisenbach, Warner Bros. Executive Vice President of Marketing and Planning.

"Pokemon The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back" was produced in Japan by Shogakukan Productions Co., Ltd. When the film was released there last summer, it became the fourth-highest grossing film in Japan for 1998 !

"Pokemon The Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back" is an epic adventure featuring the debut of new, bio-engineered "Super-Pokemon," whose powers rival those of the existing creatures, creating exciting new plot twists and turns. The new Pokemon appears in this film for the first time in any format; it cannot yet be seen on television or in any video game. For the upcoming release of the film, the producers are adding a new musical score.

"The Pokemon storyline combines a variety of appealing characters that not only entertains kids but reinforces teamwork and cooperation," stated Mr. Reisenbach. "The interest and fervor for Pokemon, by both boys and girls, is incredible. `Pokemon The Movie' is family entertainment that everyone will enjoy."

The Pokemon phenomenon began in Japan with a game for Nintendo's Game Boy portable video game system before capturing the attention of America. Its huge popularity prompted the creation of a Pokemon television series, which became a tremendous success in Japan. The phenomenon spread to the United States, where Nintendo has now sold more than 2.8 million units of the game, topping industry sales charts.

The "Pokemon" TV show now airs in the U.S. in syndication and on Kids WB!, where it has emerged as the 1 kids' program. In addition to the video games and TV show, Pokemon continues to entertain millions of fans all over the world with a best-selling toy line, a hugely popular card game and a multitude of licensed products.

"`Pokemon the Movie' will bring these popular characters to an even wider group of viewers, who will learn for themselves what makes Pokemon red-hot," said Alfred Kahn, Chairman and CEO of 4Kids Entertainment, the company authorized by Nintendo to hold the rights to the movie, television series, home video and merchandising. "We are thrilled to be in business with Warner Bros. and Nintendo in both the television and motion-picture rollout of Pokemon."

Pokemon is set in a fantasy world populated by 151 different imaginary creatures called Pokemon, each possessing unique, special powers or abilities. In the Pokemon environment, human beings act as Pokemon trainers, capturing as many of the creatures as they can. The Pokemon then join the trainer's team and help capture other Pokemon, enabling their human companions to become "Pokemon Masters."

In the feature film, Ash Ketchum, accompanied by his friends Misty, Brock and Pikachu (a favorite, electrically charged Pokemon), continues his quest to become the world's greatest Pokemon trainer. The challenge is greater than ever when Mewtwo, a bio-engineered Pokemon, creates a strain of Super-Pokemon and sets the stage for the ultimate Pokemon battle.

A 22-minute short subject, "Pikachu's Vacation," will precede the feature. In addition to Mewtwo, four brand-new Pokemon will appear in "Pikachu's Vacation."

Nintendo Co., Ltd., of Kyoto, Japan, is the acknowledged worldwide leader in the creation of interactive entertainment. To date, Nintendo has sold more than one billion video games worldwide, has created such industry icons as Mario and Donkey Kong and launched franchises like The Legend of Zelda and Pokemon.

Pokemon, the film, will release at cinemas nationwide in New Zealand on January 1st , 2000.

ENDS....

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