Pokemon Movie 'Detective Pikachu' Lands Director

Rob Letterman - Getty - H 2016
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'Goosebumps' helmer Rob Letterman will direct the Legendary project.

Goosebumps director Rob Letterman is ready to catch 'em all. The filmmaker has been tapped to helm Legendary's Pokemon movie Detective Pikachu.

The live-action film from Legendary and The Pokemon Company is being written by Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch. The first pic in a planned franchise centers on Detective Pikachu, a new character and story in the Pokemon universe (the character was first introduced in a video game in Japan).

Legendary has fast-tracked the project for a production start in 2017 after nabbing the rights to the iconic Japanese property in July on the heels of the Pokemon Go craze. Universal will handle distribution of the film outside Japan, as it has done with Legendary’s other projects. The Pokemon Company's longtime movie collaborator, Toho, will handle distribution of the film franchise in Japan.

Pokemon, first created by Satoshi Tajiri in 1995, is a franchise of video games, trading cards, TV shows, comic books and movies that center on the unique creatures that are collected by Pokemon Trainers, who then train them to battle for sport.

The first video game, launched for Game Boy, was released in 1996. The first film, Pokemon: The First Movie — Mewtwo Strikes Back, was released in 1998, and there have been 19 films released to date based on the property.

Letterman seems a good fit for the property, as he's worked in both animation and live-action and with familiar fantasy-skewing properties like Goosebumps. His previous work includes Monsters vs. Aliens and Goosebumps, both of which he directed, as well as Shark Tale, which he wrote and helmed. Letterman is repped by WME.