In the latest episode of our ongoing series, Ryan George reveals what (probably) happened in the pitch meeting for the first live-action Pokémon movie, Detective Pikachu. Based on a Nintendo 3DS game of the same name (which is now getting a sequel), Detective Pikachu is about a guy called Tim (Justice Smith) who teams up with an adorable talking Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) to solve the disappearance of Tim's father, a detective with Ryme City PD.
Detective Pikachu is Tim's father's partner on the job, since Ryme City is a haven where humans and Pokémon co-exist without Pokéballs or Pokébattles (well, maybe a few Pokébattles). The movie also stars Bill Nighy as definitely-not-the-bad-guy Howard Clifford, the uber-rich founder of Ryme City who wishes that humans could evolve the same way Pokémon do, but is definitely not going to be revealed as the movie's villain in a third act twist.
Even before Detective Pikachu made it into theaters, it already had the benefit of a Deadpool-esque marketing campaign. Reynolds made a faux-serious behind-the-scenes featurette about how he used method acting to get into character, and a fake "leak" of the movie turned out to just be a video of Pikachu dancing to the music from a Crystal Light National Aerobics Championship viral video.
Somehow Detective Pikachu beat the video game movie curse and won over both critics and audiences, grossing $362 million worldwide as of the time of writing. Though a sequel seems likely to happen, it would probably have to shake things up a bit since Detective Pikachu ends with the reveal that Pikachu can only talk because he was merged with Tim's dad's consciousness. By the time the credits roll, the only thing he can say is, "Pika pika!"
Still, if Detective Pikachu has proven anything, it's that where there's a possibility to make money, studios will find a way - even if it means finding a way to combine the success of Deadpool and Pokémon Go. Legendary Entertainment producer Ali Mendes has said that there's potential for an entire Pokémon cinematic universe off the back of Detective Pikachu, so maybe we can look forward to a Psyduck movie in the near future. On second thoughts, the pressure of being the star of its own movie would probably cause Psyduck to explore, so perhaps it's better off as a supporting character.