When comedy adventure “Detective Pikachu” arrives in 2019, it won’t be via Universal Pictures but rather Warner Bros., though a May release date remains unchanged.
Warner Bros. announced on July 25 that the studio has picked up “Detective Pikachu” for international release outside of China and Japan.
Starring Ryan Reynolds of “Deadpool” as the title character — a small, cute yellow gerbil with the powers of speech and an alarming coffee habit, it’s a story about a boy who encounters the only talking Pikachu, which also happens to be a crime-solving sleuth, in a twist on the famous Pokémon video game franchise.
Through an announcement carried by The Hollywood Reporter, production company Legendary Pictures — especially well known for the “Dark Knight” Batman trilogy, the “Jurassic World” movies, and the emerging King Kong and Godzilla MonsterVerse franchise — confirmed that “Detective Pikachu” was changing distributors as part of an ongoing agreement with Warner Bros.
Between 2005 and 2014, Legendary produced 32 films in partnership with Warner Bros., but when that deal ran out it struck a new one with Universal that lasted until the end of 2018.
It was bought by Chinese property developer and cinema chain Wanda Group in 2016.
The “Detective Pikachu” transfer is an indication that Legendary and Warners are prepared to expand future collaborations beyond “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (2019) and “Godzilla vs. Kong” (2020).
Ryan Reynolds is joined in “Detective Pikachu” by Justice Smith (“Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom”), Kathryn Newton (“Big Little Lies”) and Ken Watanabe (“Godzilla,” “Batman Begins”), as well as Bill Nighy, Rita Ora and Suki Waterhouse among others.
Despite the switch in distributors, the film’s release date remains the same, set for May 10, 2019 in US theaters and beginning its international rollout the same week.