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UPDATE: Legendary Brings on Rob Letterman to Guide Detective Pikachu

An image of a Poke-ball in a live action commercial - Legend Tells of an Epic Pokemon Movie Rights Battle

The live-action Pokemon movie Detective Pikachu is set to go into production in 2017.

THR is reporting that Legendary has tapped Goosebumps director Rob Letterman to take on directing duties for their upcoming live-action Pokemon movie Detective Pikachu. The movie is being scripted by Nicole Perlman (who co-wrote Guardians of the Galaxy with James Gunn) and Alex Hirsch (creator of Disney’s Gravity Falls TV series) and will be the start of a planned franchise.

The movie will focus on Detective Pikachu, “a new character and story in the Pokemon universe (the character was first introduced in a video game in Japan).

Letterman, who’s also got some solid animation chops, as he co-wrote and co-directed Monster vs. Aliens and Shark Tale for Dreamworks, is probably a pretty solid choice for the movie. No casting or additional plot details have been revealed yet.


UPDATE 7-20-16: Legendary Scores Live Action Pokemon Movie Rights

Turns out, Deadline was right. Legendary Entertainment has scored the live action Pokemon movie rights, and will be launching a franchise based around the character of Detective Pikachu. Production is currently planned to start next year, with Universal distributing the films in territories outside Japan, and Toho handling Japanese distribution. No word yet on writers and / or directors tied to the project.

Suddenly, Everyone’s Interested in the Pokemon Movie Rights Again

So, a little less than three months ago, we reported on the possibility of a live action Pokemon movie. At the time, people were celebrating the 20th anniversary of Pokemon, and three major studios were apparently locked in a cage-match death fight to finish to score the rights live-action Pokemon movie rights. OK, it probably wasn’t that dramatic, but Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures, and Legendary Pictures (also known as Legendary Entertainment) were all in the hunt, so to speak. And, at the time, it appeared that Legendary was the favorite.

But then things seemed to cool off. No one ended up with the Poke-rights, and people appeared moved on. And then came the seismic blast wave known as the Pokemon Go mobile game. To give you an idea of just how massive, Nintendo reported a $9 billion bump in their stock price after the release of Pokemon Go in the US. And Nintendo is only a one-third investor/owner in Pokemon. OK, so there’s money to be made, and once again, everyone’s interested in those Pokemon movie rights.

Well, according to a report from Deadline, previous favorite Legendary is still the primary contender for winning the rights showdown. According to the entertainment website, they’re being told that Legendary is locking it up, though they have been unable to get a comment from either the studio themselves or Pokemon USA regarding a possible deal.

Will Warcraft’s Performance Help?

Legendary may also be in even better shape now to score the Pokemon movie rights, thanks to the recent performance of video game movie Warcraft. Though it pulled down a disappointing $46 million at the domestic box office, it’s added an additional $384 million internationally, making it the highest earning video game movie to date.

Also, with the success of Pokemon Go, it will be interesting to see if any elements of the game make it into the coming Pokemon movies. At the very least, I imagine they’d try to tie Pokemon Go into any marketing efforts. Stay tuned, and we’ll hopefully have some Poke-answers (it’s like an answer, but with Poke in front of it) for you soon.

Featured Image: Pokemon

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