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Hollywood is making a Pikachu movie, and not only because of the success of Pokémon Go.

While Legendary Entertainment and The Pokémon Company revealed they are working together on a Detective Pikachu live-action film in mid-July, around two weeks after the launch of Pokémon Go, the two had started talks long before that game was a sensation. The GPS-powered monster-catching game has players finding familiar creatures in their neighborhood through the use of data from Google Maps, and it is the top-grossing game with more than $200 million in revenues in a month. And when Legendary revealed it won the rights to make a movie based on the franchise, most assumed this was a slapped-together deal because Pokémon Go was everywhere.

The Pokémon Company marketing boss J.C. Smith explained to GamesBeat that wasn’t the case.

“Yeah, the unfortunate thing about the timing was it did seem like that was the reason,” he said. “Obviously, Hollywood doesn’t work like that. Deals don’t work like that. It’s been in discussion for a long time.”


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While Pokémon Go may have helped expedite the process, Hollywood studios are all on the hunt for familiar brands from other mediums. We’re coming off the release of Warcraft, a film based on the World of Warcraft series also from Legendary Pictures. Warner Bros. is in production on Minecraft: The Movie. And that’s not to mention Hollywood going after the film rights of board games like Monopoly, Risk, and Chutes & Ladders.

“For us, I’m glad we were able to announce it. We got a lot of great coverage about it. But it was one of those where there was so much Go news — normally this would be a much bigger piece of the news cycle, but in the end, we’re excited that we’re able to do this. People will learn a lot more soon.”

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