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Legendary Pictures to produce Detective Pikachu movie

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The news is official: a live-action Pokémon movie is happening.
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  • Thursday, July 21, 2016

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Deadline Hollywood has just confirmed that {{wp|Legendary Entertainment|Legendary Pictures]] has won the rights to a live-action Pokémon movie and is set to begin production on it next year.

The film, produced by the studio behind Watchmen, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and Jurassic World, is set to follow the escapades of Detective Pikachu, taking cues from the Nintendo 3DS game that was released in Japan back in February.

A live-action Pokémon movie had been rumored since last April, when reports of a bidding war came out. No official report confirmed that the movie was being considered until today's news.

There is no further information about the film's production, though there are talks that screenwriter Max Landis, son of director John Landis and writer of Chronicle for Fox, is negotiating to write the screenplay, according to Deadline.

Universal Pictures is confirmed to release the movie in all territories except Japan, where Toho will handle distribution. Universal has a five year co-financing and distribution agreement with Legendary beginning in 2014.

The victory for both Legendary and Universal is a major blow for Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures, both of whom were alleged to be major players for the Pokémon film rights as well. Warner Bros., who in April was reported to have "aggressively" pursued the Pokémon live-action film rights, helped distribute the first three Pokémon films based off the anime worldwide during the franchise's early years, but dropped the rights in 2001 after the underperformance of the third movie.

In terms of movies based off video games, Warner has mostly sat out of the genre after their former sister studio, New Line Cinema , released the critically-lambasted Mortal Kombat: Annihilation in 1997, more than a decade before Warner took over the studio. (On a side note, Warner acquired the Mortal Kombat intellectual property from Midway Games in 2009 after the latter filed for bankruptcy that year.)

Sony, whose past in adapting video games into movies has been checkered with both the Resident Evil film series and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, recently found box office success with The Angry Birds Movie', based off the mobile game, and is currently trying their hands on a film based off Sega's video game character Sonic the Hedgehog, reportedly slated for a 2018 release.

A release date for the film has not been announced.