Over the past couple of weeks, Nintendo's mobile game, Pokémon Go, has taken the world by storm, smashing all sorts of records, becoming a global phenomenon. The success has been unequivocal so, of course, a live-action Pokémon film is in the works to capitalise on it.

According to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter, it seems as though Legendary Entertainment have closed a deal and acquired the movie rights to Pokémon, after appearing as the frontrunners last week in a long-going bidding war for the rights, which also had Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures in the mix. The Japanese brand is one of the biggest in entertainment today so it's no surprise that studios have been up in arms with one another for a few months now, trying to get the rights to the Nintendo property and get a live-action film in the works. However, with the resurgence of the franchise after the recent success of Go, it's no surprise that studios have been even antsier than before for the rights, in order to  get the project developing ASAP, to capitalise on the current success and love for the game. Well, now that Legendary has sealed the deal, a picture is in the works and the first details  - as basic and brief as they may be - have even emerged.
However, don't be expecting to be seeing a live-action story revolving around franchise-alum Ash Ketchum - like the many animated films and shows we've seen over the years - anytime soon because the plan in store for the project is one most people won't be expecting. Legendary will be teaming with The Pokémon Company to bring a live-action Detective Pikachu story to the big-screen for their first film together., and the film is being fast-tracked for a production start date in early 2017. To those scratching their heads wondering what Detective Pikachu is, the character is relatively new in the Pokémon-universe and was created for a Japanese video-game - titled Great Detective Pikachu - in which a boy, Tim Goodman, teams with a peculiar, talking Pikachu that claims to be a great detective to solve mysteries around the city, concerning other Pokémon.

A Detective Pikachu film is certainly quite unexpected but the game has proven to be quite the hit in Japan, where it has released. It's certainly something new that we haven't really seen before, and it is Pokémon at the end of the day, so it will certainly garner a lot of attention for that alone if nothing else. Whilst that's all we really know about the film at the moment, the rumour mill has it that Max Landis is the frontrunner to write the script. If you're not too familiar with Landis' work, he wrote films like Chronicle, American Ultra, Mr. Right and is also behind the screenplay for next year's Power Rangers reboot. In my opinion, his best films are the ones that are absurd and wacky and fun so a Detective Pikachu storyline could certainly be in his ballpark. Here's the trailer for the game's 3DS release in Japan, to get a better idea of what it's about:

With Legendary fast-tracking for a 2017 start date, it could be that we find out more concrete, official details regarding writers, and even potentially directors, sooner rather than later. And if all goes to plan, we could be looking at a release date for this film as early as 2018 - which, in this industry's terms, is really not that far away. Of course, just how hot Pokémon is within the next few years will dictate just how well the film does (The Angry Birds Movie, for example, was 7 years too late) but, seeing as Pokémon has been around since 1996, and a big success since then too, with new games and shows and the like releasing constantly all over the globe, I think there will still be much excitement around a live-action Detective Pikachu film come 2018. And if the film is a success, I'm sure it will be the first of many more Pokémon films to come. It'll also be interesting to see just who gets cast as the voice of the beloved franchise's yellow rodent mascot but that's speculation for further down the line. Stay updated here for all the latest news on the picture.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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