It’s no surprise that Pokemon are back in the news thanks to the wild success of Nintendo and Niantic, Inc.’s mobile game, “Pokemon Go,” and it wasn’t even surprising that a live-action movie based on the cute critters was announced in the wake of that success. However, the decision to base Legendary Entertainment and The Pokémon Company’s franchise on a relatively new iteration of the famous Pikachu mascot was rather unexpected.
It was announced today the partners will be launching the first-ever Pokémon live-action film franchise, one that will be based on Detective Pikachu. The character was first introduced in Japan through the video game “Great Detective Pikachu” earlier this year, so fans who are familiar with it might have a head start on the rest of us. Basically, players interacted with a Sherlock Holmes-type Pikachu (who spoke to them) and helped him solve mysteries. Details of how Detective Pikachu’s story will be told are being kept quiet for the moment, though the film is being fast-tracked for production start in 2017.
20 years after its introduction, Pokemon has experienced quite the resurgence in popularity within the last week or so, but it never really experienced any lack of interest from fans. With over 279 million video games sold worldwide, an animated series spanning 19 seasons, and tons of merchandising, Pokémon easily remains one of the most successful entertainment brands in the world.
Universal Pictures will handle distribution of the live-action film outside Japan as it has done with Legendary’s other films for years. The Pokémon Company’s long time movie collaborator, Toho, will handle distribution of the film franchise in Japan, as it had similarly done in its partnership with Legendary on the iconic monster reboot for Godzilla.
Check out the game trailer for “Great Detective Pikachu” to get an idea of how the live-action film might play out:
Are you excited to hear that this version of the live-action Pokemon movie will be heading in this direction? Or are you perhaps disappointed that it wouldn’t be following a more familiar story of a Poké-trainer trying to be the very best? Let us know in the comments!