Ryan Reynolds appeared to have found a pirated pre-release copy of “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” — and then made the ill-advised move to share it with his 13 million-plus fans on Twitter.
Of course, not really.
The “Deadpool” star, who voices the adorable yellow rodent-like creature in the upcoming Warner Bros./Legendary Entertainment release, hadn’t blundered into facilitating a massive piracy scheme three days before the theatrical release of “Pokémon Detective Pikachu.”
Reynolds’ tweet, under the guise of alerting Warner Bros. about the leak, was in fact a classic rick-roll-style prank, engineered to remind people that his movie opens Friday. The “pirated” copy of the movie on YouTube includes 60 seconds of what looks like the actual opening sequence of “Detective Pikachu” — followed by 102 minutes of Pikachu aerobicizing on a dance floor.
The “full movie” (at this link) in its first 14 hours on YouTube notched more than 4 million views, uploaded to an account called “Inspector Pikachu” that was created on May 2. (In a nice touch, the actual movie footage at the beginning of the video has a watermark that reads “R. Reynolds.”)
For Hollywood studios, seeding such bogus copies of their films is an occasional anti-piracy tactic — designed to draw search-engine traffic away from other pirate sites and/or to frustrate would-be freeloaders.
Among Reynolds’ other promotional activities for “Detective Pikachu,” he released an “Inside the Actors Studio” spoof about his method-acting process for getting into the Pikachu role: “I tried to lose 182 pounds to match his weight, until doctors intervened.”
The Warner Bros. live-action “Pokémon Detective Pikachu” hits theaters Firday, May 10. The film also stars Justice Smith (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”) and Kathryn Newton (“Big Little Lies”). It was directed by “Goosebumps” director Rob Letterman. A sequel is already in the works, to be written by “21 Jump Street” scribe Oren Uziel.