Legendary Entertainment and The Pokémon Company announced today they will partner to launch the first-ever Pokémon live-action film franchise based on Detective Pikachu, a new character and story in the Pokémon universe. The world first met Detective Pikachu through a video game in Japan, and further details of how his story will be told are being kept under wraps for the moment. The film will be fast-tracked for production start in 2017.
First introduced in Japan in 1996, Pokémon has delighted fans of all ages around the world for two decades. With more than 279 million video games sold worldwide, 21.5 billion TCG cards shipped to 74 countries, and an animated series spanning 19 seasons, Pokémon is 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.
The deal was brokered by Don McGowan, General Counsel at The Pokémon Company International, who led the negotiations with outside counsel Dan Black of Greenberg Traurig. Marty Willhite, Legendary’s Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel along with Daniel Feinberg, Vice President Corporate Counsel and Mike Ross, Senior Vice President, Business and Legal Affairs, represented the studio.
You can watch the trailer for the previously-released Great Detective Pikachu game for Nintendo in Japan below.