Detective Pikachu Movie Fast-Tracked at Legendary Entertainment

Originally published on Trevor Trove on July 20, 2016

Well in a very transparent attempt to cash-in on the popularity of the meteoric success of the Pokemon GO mobile app, Legendary Entertainment has green-lit a live action Pokemon movie, which will reportedly center around Detective Pikachu – a Japanese Nintendo 3DS game that hasn’t even had mention of a Western release.

It is certainly a bold move to fast-track a project like this based on the buzz around the mobile game, which may have completely fallen off a cliff by the time production gets underway in 2017. But then again, Legendary could just be trying to grab headlines by announcing this news right now, even if it never makes the movie a reality. For example, Uncharted and The Last of Us film adaptations have been in development limbo for years with no end in sight.

But I’m possibly most curious about why they’re aiming for an adaptation of this Detective Pikachu idea. I suppose most likely because “non-descript detective story” with a Pokemon coat of paint slapped over it is probably easier to pull out of some studio executives pile of “maybe someday” scripts than trying to condense down a season of the television show or one of the games into a two-hour adventure. But the decision to center the movie around a talking Pikachu suggests to me that this will be a very kid-focused PG movie.

All that said, live-action CGI versions of old cartoons is very much the way of the world these days, following the recent success of The Jungle Book or the upcoming Pete’s Dragon remake. And Legendary most recently tried it’s hand at the whole video game movie thing with another globally renowned franchise in Warcraft. Of course, it probably hit five to ten years past it’s peak popularity. And even if you assume a Pokemon live-action movie begins production in 2017, it likely won’t reach theatres until 2018 or beyond.

So while this news is striking while the iron is hot, it will be long cooled by the time anything actually comes of it, if it ever does.

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