Pokemon Go has already done some marvelous things for corporate parent Nintendo, despite the high bar for success in the mobile market (and the fact Nintendo had very little to do with the actual development of the game). It’s more than doubled the game company’s market capitalization to $42 billion in the last couple weeks — and it’s propelled a live-action Pokemon movie from boardroom hell onto the pre-production fast-track, with production expected to begin by 2017.
“Live-action” as a descriptor for “videogame movie” almost never ends well, but there’s hope at the end of this 3D-rendered tunnel: according to The Hollywood Reporter, this film will be an adaptation of Great Detective Pikachu, the spinoff 3DS game which launched in earlier this year.
If you’re not acquainted, Detective Pikachu is a distinct character from the cutesy ball of yellow fluff usually plastered on advertisements and Japanese bullet trains. This Pikachu has a full grasp of human language and speaks with a deep masculine voice, which has led to a number of image memes and a petition for American actor Danny DeVito to play the character in the event of any Western localization. (DeVito has gone on record saying he doesn’t know what Pokemon is, although with the pervasive success of Pokemon Go, maybe that’s changed?) Watch the game trailer below and tell me you don’t want to see a hard-boiled detective mystery starring this little fella.
Not only is a full-length Detective Pikachu movie a boon for the game’s localization prospects, it has a good chance of not completely sucking, just by dint of the premise. That’s all supposing film studio Legendary — which optioned the film adaptation rights — gets together the right talent and has the necessary support from Nintendo, of course, a company which has been notably circumspect about the big screen (remember how it said no to a Mario cameo in Wreck-It Ralph?). We’ll know more by 2017, one way or another.
Obviously with all details kept “under wraps” at the moment it’s too early to speculate about cast and plot details, but honestly the only thing I want to know at this point is: can they get DeVito for the role?