Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

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Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
Teaser poster
Directed by Rob Letterman
Produced by
Written by
Based on
Cinematography John Mathieson
Edited by Mark Sanger
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures (US/International)
Toho (Japan)
Release date
  • May 10, 2019 (2019-05-10)
Country United States
Language English

Pokémon: Detective Pikachu (formerly known as Detective Pikachu), is an upcoming science fantasy mystery comedy film directed by Rob Letterman and written by Nicole Perlman and Letterman, based on the video game of the same name. The film is an American and Japanese joint venture produced by Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, and Toho. It will be the first live-action film based on the Pokémon franchise. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice of Detective Pikachu, with Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton and Ken Watanabe in live-action roles.

It is slated for release in the United States on May 10, 2019 by Warner Bros. Pictures,[2] making it the first Pokémon film to get a wide theatrical release in the United States since Pokémon 3: The Movie in 2001.




In April 2016, it was reported that Warner Bros. Pictures, Sony Pictures and Legendary Pictures were in negotiations for live-action film rights to Pokémon.[3] Later in July 2016, Legendary was nearing to close a deal for the film.[4] On July 20, 2016, it was announced that Legendary and The Pokémon Company International had signed on a deal together to make the first live-action film in the franchise, which would be based on the video game Detective Pikachu. Initially, Universal Pictures would handle the distribution outside Japan, while Toho would handle the Japanese distribution.[5] On August 16, 2016, Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch were in negotiations with Legendary to write the screenplay.[6] On November 30, 2016, Legendary hired Rob Letterman to direct the film, which the studio had fast-tracked for production to start in 2017.[7]

On July 25, 2018, Warner Bros. Pictures announced they would take over worldwide distribution duties (except in Japan and China) from Universal, with the release date unchanged.[8] The reason for adapting Detective Pikachu came from The Pokémon Company and Letterman's desire to make a movie that focused on another character besides Ash Ketchum. On the premise, Letterman stated, "The Pokémon Company, they’ve already made many, many movies of Ash, and they came to Legendary with this idea of using a new character. So when I came onboard, I was pitched this character of Detective Pikachu, and I fell in love with the story behind it."[9]


In November 2017, Justice Smith was cast in the lead human role, with Kathryn Newton cast to costar after an intense session of reading and testing actresses who would appear opposite Smith. Newton beat out Natalia Dyer, Haley Lu Richardson, and Katherine Langford for the role.[10][11] In December 2017, Ryan Reynolds was cast in the titular role to be portrayed via motion-capture.[12] Other actors considered for the role were Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Hugh Jackman.[13] In January 2018, with production commencing, Ken Watanabe, Bill Nighy, and Chris Geere joined the cast.[14][15] In February 2018, Suki Waterhouse and Rita Ora joined the cast.[16][17] In April 2018, Omar Chaparro joined the cast.[18]


Principal production began on January 15, 2018, in London, England.[19] Nine days later, Legendary announced that principal photography had officially begun.[20] The press release revealed that Alex Hirsch was not involved with the final draft of the script and that Nicole Perlman and Rob Letterman were the only ones credited.[21] Principal photography concluded on May 1, 2018.[22]


Much of the visual effects were provided by the same team behind The Jungle Book and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Letterman compared the visual effects to the character of Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy. "They’re technically, some of the most high-end visual effects in the world...It’s completely photorealistic, like they are alive and in the movie." Additional audio recording of a supposed fight between Detective Pikachu and Charizard was recorded at the Pokémon World Championships.[9]


On August 24, 2018, at that year's Pokémon World Championships, Tsunekazu Ishihara, president of The Pokémon Company, officially announced the film would be titled Pokémon: Detective Pikachu.[23] At the event, director Rob Letterman also revealed the film's logo.[24] On the same day, a teaser poster of the film was released by Warner Bros. Pictures.[25]


Originally set to be distributed by Universal Pictures, Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is currently scheduled for release in the United States on May 10, 2019, through Warner Bros. Pictures, and Toho will distribute the film in Japan.[26]


  1. ^ a b c "Film releases". Variety Insight. Retrieved June 4, 2018. 
  2. ^ Kit, Borys (December 11, 2017). "Ryan Reynolds' 'Detective Pikachu' Gets 2019 Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  3. ^ Masters, Kim (April 14, 2016). "Pokemon Movie Rights Bidding War as China's Legendary Makes Big Play for Japanese Property". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  4. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (12 July 2016). "Is Legendary Going To Catch Pokemon? Movie Deal In Offing For Hot Franchise Property". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. 
  5. ^ Fleming Jr., Mike (20 July 2016). "Legendary Catches 'Pokemon' Live-Action Movie Rights Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved July 21, 2016. 
  6. ^ Kroll, Justin (August 16, 2016). "'Guardians of the Galaxy' and 'Gravity Falls' Writers to Pen 'Pokemon' Movie (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved August 17, 2016. 
  7. ^ Ford, Rebecca (November 30, 2016). "Pokemon Movie 'Detective Pikachu' Lands Director". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 1, 2016. 
  8. ^ McNary, Dave (July 25, 2018). "Ryan Reynolds' 'Detective Pikachu' Moves From Universal to Warner Bros". Variety. Retrieved July 26, 2018. 
  9. ^ a b Yehl, Joshua (August 25, 2018). "Why Pokemon's First Live-action Movie Features Detective Pikachu Instead of Ash Ketchum". IGN. Retrieved August 25, 2018. 
  10. ^ Hipes, Patrick (November 17, 2017). "Legendary's 'Detective Pikachu' Sets Justice Smith To Star". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  11. ^ Kit, Borys (November 29, 2017). "Pokemon Movie Finds Its Female Lead With 'Big Little Lies' Actress". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  12. ^ Kit, Borys; Ford, Rebecca (December 6, 2017). "Ryan Reynolds to Star in Pokemon Movie 'Detective Pikachu' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  13. ^ Erao, Matthew (October 17, 2017). "Detective Pikachu Movie Actor Wishlist Includes The Rock". Screen Rant. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  14. ^ Kit, Borys (January 19, 2018). "Ken Watanabe Joins Ryan Reynolds in Pokemon Movie 'Detective Pikachu' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 11, 2018. 
  15. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (January 30, 2018). "Legendary's 'Detective Pikachu' Film Adds Bill Nighy & Chris Geere". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved February 11, 2018. 
  16. ^ Kit, Borys (February 1, 2018). "Suki Waterhouse Joins Ryan Reynolds in Pokemon Movie 'Detective Pikachu' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  17. ^ Kit, Borys (February 13, 2018). "Rita Ora Joins Ryan Reynolds in Pokemon Movie 'Detective Pikachu' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  18. ^ http://deadline.com/2018/04/legendary-universal-detective-pikachu-omar-chaparro-jeremy-sumpter-tom-berenger-sargasso-1202365615/
  19. ^ Williams, Caleb (October 13, 2017). "Live-Action 'Pokemon' Movie 'Detective Pikachu' Starts Filming This January in the UK". Omega Underground. Retrieved February 11, 2018. 
  20. ^ Trumbore, Dave (January 24, 2018). "'Detective Pikachu' Begins Production on the WTF Movie of 2019, Starring Ryan Reynolds". Collider. Complex. Retrieved February 11, 2018. 
  21. ^ Erao, Matthew (January 24, 2018). "Detective Pikachu Live-Action Movie Officially Begins Filming". Screen Rant. 
  22. ^ Hill, Archie (May 1, 2018). "Archie Hill on Instagram". Instagram. 
  23. ^ https://twitter.com/Pokemon/status/1032993252431912960
  24. ^ https://twitter.com/Pokemon/status/1032993993678671874
  25. ^ https://twitter.com/DetPikachuMovie/status/1033006574363586561
  26. ^ D'Alessandro & Fleming Jr., Anthony & Mike (25 July 2018). "'Detective Pikachu' Switch Offers Clues To Legendary Move To Warner Bros From Universal". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. 

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