Detective Pikachu movie shifts from Universal to Warner Bros.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the upcoming live-action Detective Pikachu movie has switched studios from Universal Pictures to Warner Bros. Pictures. The move is part of a larger negotiation that could see all the movies from Legendary Entertainment‘s slate with Universal moving back to Warners, where they called home for the first decade of their existence as a production entity. Amid the shuffle, Detective Pikachu is set to retain its original May 10, 2019 release date.
With Legendary’s four-year deal with Universal expiring at the end of 2018, several other studios are also reportedly looking to possibly partner up, but Warners holds the advantage. The four years Legendary spent under Universal were anemic at best, with many of their films floundering at the domestic box office (Dracula Untold, Seventh Son, Blackhat, Crimson Peak, Steve Jobs, Warcraft, The Great Wall, Pacific Rim Uprising), with only the Jurassic World films, Straight Outta Compton and Krampus as bright spots. Both Interstellar and Kong: Skull Island stayed at Warner Bros., with an intended big budget Universal release Spectral ultimately going straight to Netflix. Their most recent release, the Dwayne Johnson-starrer Skyscraper, has also opened to a weak domestic take, although it could recoup costs overseas.
The move also comes after Warner Bros. lost its chief co-financing partner RatPac-Dune amid the Brett Ratner scandal. RatPac partnered up with Warners after Legendary left, so it seems only fitting that Legendary should return to fill the gap. The last film from the RatPac slate was April’s Rampage. This leaves the door open for Legendary to once again partner up on Warners’ DC slate, which they did from Batman Begins through Man of Steel, with the exception of the 2011 bomb Green Lantern which they wisely opted out of.
Legendary’s next (and potentially last) movie through Universal’s Focus Features is Spike Lee’s hot button BlacKkKlansman, which opens in August and has already earned stellar reviews. In 2019 they have their Monsterverse movie Godzilla: King of the Monsters, which will also open through Warner Bros.
The Detective Pikachu movie’s eclectic cast consists of Ryan Reynolds as the titular talking Pokemon with Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe, Suki Waterhouse, Rita Ora and Bill Nighy. Smith will star as a teen whose father is kidnapped which leads him to Reynolds’ Pikachu and Kathryn Newton as a young journalist who team up in order to find him.
Goosebumps helmer Rob Letterman is on directing duty while Mary Parent (The Revenant) and Cale Boyter are producing the film for Legendary Entertainment.
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