Ryan Reynolds’ live action “Detective Pikachu” film has jumped ship at Universal and settled at Warner Bros.
The film is being produced by Legendary Entertainment, which has currently has a distribution deal with Universal that ends at the end of the year.
“Detective Pikachu” was expected to hit theaters May 10, 2019, though that could now change. The belief is that the move to Warner Bros. is a sign that Legendary, owned by China’s Wanda Group, will set up shop at the studio once its deal with Universal ends.
Universal declined to comment.
The most recent release from Legendary and Universal was Dwayne Johnson’s “Skyscraper.” The film opened to just $25 million domestic and $65 million worldwide from 57 countries. And with a $120 million budget before marketing costs, faces an uphill battle toward profitability for the studio.
The film has garnered $49 million to date domestically and $184 million worldwide.
Legendary has a stake in Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” which would mark the company’s final film with Universal. It’s being released under the studio’s Focus Features banner.
In December last year, Legendary tapped veteran Hollywood lawyer Joshua Grode to take the reins as CEO, and Grode has been quick to bolster the company. Just last month Legendary secured a $1 billion loan from a collection of banks led by J.P. Morgan.
The deal replaced a previous $585 million credit facility, but with better terms, including industry-low interest rates and significant production credits that will allow the studio to borrow on the estimated performance of an upcoming film or TV release.
“Detective Pikachu” comes after the phenomenal success of the augmented reality mobile game PokemonGo, based on the popular Japanese TV series, trading cards and video games.
Reynolds will lend his voice to the title character of Pikachu in the film, which also stars Bill Nighy, Kathryn Newton, Justice Smith and Rita Ora.
The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news.