'Anime will only get stronger,' as Pokémon beats Marvel as highest grossing franchise

It is estimated that Pokémon has earned $59.1 billion since its creation in 1996 with a total that spans its $50 billion in retail sales and its massive mobile presence thanks to the success of Pokémon Go.
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Pokémon has been listed as the highest grossing global franchise toppling the likes of Star Wars and Marvel in the fight for the top spot.

It is estimated that Pokémon has earned $59.1 billion since its creation in 1996 with a total that spans its $50 billion in retail sales and its massive mobile presence thanks to the success of Pokémon Go.

It is one of three out of the top five highest grossing franchises to originate from Japan, highlighting the surging global popularity of the creativity from Japanese culture, including the growing demand for anime.

Comicbook.com reports that Pokémon - an anime franchise that launched to life via Nintendo’s video game series - has trumped the likes of the Disney-owned Star Wars and Marvel universe.

While Marvel may be recognised as the highest-grossing film franchise at the box office, it falls somewhat short in total media revenue made with an estimated $21.7 billion.

Star Wars records a total of $42.9 billion – currently made up, by large, in merchandise sales.

The listing – which can be found here – goes some way to highlight the strength of Japan’s anime and content creation culture, seeing Hello Kitty beat the Harry Potter universe in the running, while Mario (est $26.2 billion) comes in at fifth, ahead of Batman.

Licensing veteran Max Arguile is a video game and anime IP expert, operating a licensing consultancy business around the pop culture scene via his outfit, Reemsborko.

Arguile has noted a surge in popularity of anime and Japanese entertainment IP among Western audiences.

“This is an incredible testament to the powerhouse of creativity that is Japan,” he tells ToyNews.

“It is hardly surprising that for overall business, anime has a strong showing on this list. Many anime properties have been around long enough to establish a really broad fan base of followers that will stick with the brand or indeed to return to it many years after they first loved it as a child.”

Aiding its popularity, anime is finding new routes to Western audiences via platforms including Crunchyroll and Funimation as well as Netflix and Amazon, all of which are currently investing in new IP.

“This is ensuring continued growth,” added Arguile. “At the same time, it is starting to edge into the mainstream – the grown-ups might not understand it but all kids now have either a tablet or a phone and it is easy enough to legally watch pretty much any anime.

“Commercially and culturally, the genre will only get bigger from this point.” 

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