Pokémon: The First Movie – original concept drawing – Mewtwo & Mew by John Alvin
Pokémon: The First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, commonly referred to as Pokémon: The First Movie, originally released as Pocket Monsters the Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back! (劇場版ポケットモンスター ミュウツーの逆襲 Gekijōban Poketto Monsutā: Myūtsū no Gyakushū?), is a 1998 Japanese anime film directed by Kunihiko Yuyama, the chief director of the Pokémon television series. It is the first theatrical release in the Pokémon franchise.
It was released in Japan on July 18, 1998. The English-language adaptation, produced by Nintendo and 4Kids Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures (under the Kids' WB! label), was released in North America on November 10, 1999.
The film primarily consists of three segments: Pikachu's Vacation, a 21-minute feature focusing on the series mascot Pikachu; Origin of Mewtwo, a 10-minute featurette that functions as a prologue to the main feature; and Mewtwo Strikes Back, the main 75 minute film feature. The featurette was added on for later releases and eventually dubbed as a special feature in the U.S. release of the TV special (that was released as a direct-to-video follow-up film sequel in the U.S.A.) Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns as The Uncut Story of Mewtwo's Origin.
Although Pokémon was extremely popular when the film was released, the English-language version received negative reviews from film critics. Despite the reviews, it was a box office success worldwide, topping the box office charts in its opening weekend, and eventually grossing US$163.6 million worldwide.