Though the rights to a live-action Pokémon film have been in contention for some time, the massive success of Pokémon Go created an unprecedented demand for a Hollywood adaptation. According to Variety, the film rights have been acquired by Legendary Entertainment, and a new movie will begin production starting in 2017!
Surprisingly enough, the film will not focus on a quest to acquire gym badges or become a Pokémon master. Instead, the film will be based on Detective Pikachu, the 2016 eShop game featuring the franchise mascot as a plucky detective. The game has yet to release outside of Japan, though this should greatly increase the likelihood of a localization!
Given Nintendo’s hesitance in Hollywood (particularly after the Super Mario Bros. movie), the film’s focus on a Pokémon spin-off makes perfect sense. All of the Pokémon theatrical releases have focused on side stories, and a live-action film carries extra pressure: a failure could hurt the brand. If the movie focused on the same concepts as the main series games, it could take away from the special nature of the games themselves, especially if the movie failed.
It will be quite interesting to see how the development of Detective Pikachu goes from here. Will the fan demand for a Danny Devito-voiced Pikachu now come to fruition? Let us know what you think in the comments below!