Live-Action Pokemon Movie to Begin Production in 2017

By Chika Dunu, Epoch Times
July 21, 2016 Updated: July 22, 2016    

It’s a go—the first live-action Pokemon film is coming to the big screen.

Legendary Entertainment and the Pokemon Company announced on July 21 it will collaborate on the film franchise, based on Detective Pikachu—a new character and story in the Pokémon universe, according to a press release. 

There isn’t much detail about the film, only that production will begin in 2017.

Universal Pictures will handle distribution of the film outside Japan, while Toho will take care of Japan’s distribution.

Pokemon was first introduced in Japan in 1996 and has since been a fan favorite for nearly two decades.

However, it was the launch of Pokemon GO, a mobile app game that gets participants to hunt for virtual pocket monsters in real world locations, that propelled the game back into the pop culture realm. 

The augmented reality game, developed by Niantic and released on July 6, has become massively popular, topping 15 million downloads in just over two weeks. The game’s wild success has even bumped Nintendo’s stock value up 120 percent, according to CNN Money.

The booming success of Pokemon GO has resulted in dangerous side effects, as players vying to collect the critters in the game get too engrossed and unaware of the real-world dangers around them.

According to the San Diego Sheriff Department, two men playing the game fell off a cliff in Encinitas, California, on July 13. Both men injuries were described as moderate after a 50 and 80 feet plunge below the cliff. 

Another incident involved a New York man who drove into a tree while playing the game as a result of being distracted by the game. The man didn’t suffer any serious injuries and police are investigating the crash.

Pokemon has sold more 279 million video games worldwide and has shipped 21.5 billion TCG cards to 74 countries, making it one of the most successful entertainment brands.