Legendary Pictures announces its acquisition of the film rights to the Pokemon franchise, with the first live action Pokemon film focusing on Detective Pikachu.

A few months ago, reports indicated that a secret Hollywood bidding war was going on between various studios all vying for the rights to produce the first live action Pokemon film. Apparently, this process sped up once Pokemon GO became an overnight sensation, with Legendary Pictures making the announcement earlier today that it has acquired the film rights to the Pokemon franchise. However, the first live action Pokemon film may not be what fans would expect.

Legendary Pictures has announced that the first live action Pokemon movie ever will not be based on the core handheld games, or even the popular anime. No, the first live action Pokemon film will be Detective Pikachu, to begin production in 2017. Detective Pikachu, for the uninitiated, is a 3DS exclusive adventure game where players play as a boy named Tim Goodman, who teams with a talking Pikachu to solve mysteries.

Unfortunately, further details on the Detective Pikachu film are scarce, except that Toho Pictures will release it in Japan, and Universal Studios will have international distribution rights otherwise. It’s been reported that Netflix was also in talks to pick up the rights to the film, but perhaps the Netflix Legend of Zelda TV series that never materialized soured relations between the two companies.

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Of course, that’s just speculation at this time. Fans shouldn’t expect any concrete details on Detective Pikachu until we near the start of its production next year, at which point promotion for the movie should ramp up considerably as plot points, filming locations, and cast members are announced. As it stands, there has been no hint as to who will play any of the characters, but some fans probably have their fingers crossed for Danny DeVito to audition for the title role.

So far, the Detective Pikachu video game hasn’t even released in the United States yet. Considering Detective Pikachu‘s general obscurity compared to other games in the franchise, it seems a bit odd that it was selected as the source material for the first live action Pokemon movie.

Detective Pikachu may seem like a strange choice to be the first live action Pokemon film, but it should benefit all parties involved regardless. Depending on how the public reacts to the news, Nintendo’s shares may rise even further, and we may see the Big N sell the film rights to its other big franchises as well in the coming months.

Detective Pikachu is available as a Nintendo 3DS exclusive in Japan.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter