The Pokémon Company has officially stated in a joint announcement with Legendary Entertainment that the rights of their live-action film will go to the American studio.
The announcement comes after months of diplomatic negotiations behind closed doors, in which several Hollywood powerhouses were said to be involved. Bidding for the rights of the film and pressure to seal a deal came to an all-time high after the massive success of the mobile game ‘Pokémon Go.’
Following the prolonged hit of the smartphone app since its release, the Japanese company has revealed that production of the movie will begin in 2017. However, the highlight of the announcement was the fact that the live-action adventure will revolve around Detective Pikachu as the main character of the film.
Detective Pikachu also serves as the protagonist of one of the latest game titles of the beloved franchise, aptly named ‘Great Detective Pikachu’ and released in early February of this year for the Nintendo 3DS.
The game features an alternative version of the electric mouse who dedicates to solving mysteries along with a human partner.
— Highsnobiety (@highsnobiety) July 21, 2016
20 years on the silver screen
While it is the first time we will see Pikachu and friends in a live-action film, it is far from the first (or last) time we will watch a Pokémon movie in theaters.
The first animated adventure of the Pokémon saga to officially be released in theatres around the globe was ‘Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back’ back in 1998. ‘Mewtwo Strikes Back’ features the same characters of the animated series: Ash, Brock, Misty and their Pokémon in an original story created exclusively for the big screen.
The animated series on the small screen is one of the longest running animated shows with over 15 seasons, nearly 900 episodes and counting.
On the other hand, the animated films are also launched at a steady pace, with one film premiering each year ever since the first movie’s release. The latest title ‘Pokémon the Movie: Volcanion and the Exquisite Magearna’ marks the 19th animated film of the franchise and was released in Japan on July 16.
— Collider News (@ColliderNews) July 21, 2016
Neither the series nor the films seem to show any signs of stopping since their prime source of material, the game titles for Nintendo’s portable consoles, are still rolling out new generations consistently.
The announcement of a live-action movie starring Detective Pikachu vastly differs from the legendary-centered animated films we are used to. If production starts in 2017 as it is expected, we will probably see a theatrical release in 2018, just in time to mark the 20th anniversary of the first Pokémon film.
A super effective year for Pokémon
The Pokémon Company and Nintendo are on track to have one of the greatest years since the inception of the franchise. With the release of Pokémon Go and its progressive launch in several countries around the world, profits for the parent companies have skyrocketed.
Stock shares have seen a meteoric rise which does not seem to fade any soon, especially in light of the live-action film production announcement. Pikachu and his friends will return to the Nintendo 3DS in September, in the highly anticipated ‘Pokémon Sun and Moon,’ the latest games of the iconic series.
— Variety (@Variety) July 20, 2016
Source: The Hollywood Reporter