Legendary Entertainment’s live-action “Detective Pikachu” has moved from Universal to Warner Bros., which is keeping the May 10, 2019, release date.
The film, based on the Pokemon franchise, will star Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”), and Kathryn Newton (“Big Little Lies”). Rob Letterman will direct.
Warner Bros., which made the announcement Wednesday, will handle all distribution for “Detective Pikachu” outside Japan and China. Toho will distribute in Japan, as it has done in its partnership with Legendary on the blockbuster monster reboot “Godzilla.”
The story involves the father of Smith’s teenage character being kidnapped, forcing him to team up with Pikachu in order to find him. Newton will portray a journalist.
First introduced in Japan in 1996, Pokemon has seen nearly 300 million video games sold worldwide, 23 billion cards shipped to 74 countries, and an animated series spanning 20 seasons.
Legendary bought the movie rights in 2016, shortly after the Pokemon Go app game was released and became a worldwide phenomenon, so much so that it led to a 25% jump in the stock of part-owner Nintendo. The augmented reality game allows players to capture, battle, and train the Pokemon virtual creatures.
“Detective Pikachu” will open a week after Disney-Marvel’s still-untitled Avengers movie debuts. May 10 will also see debuts for MGM’s comedy “The Hustle,” starring Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson; and STX’s animated “Uglydolls” movie.