Wanda's Legendary to make Pokemon film; Universal to distribute

Costumed Pikachu performers performing at the Yokohama Dance Parade in Yokohama.
Costumed Pikachu performers performing at the Yokohama Dance Parade in Yokohama.PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (Bloomberg) - Billionaire Wang Jianlin's Legendary Entertainment will team up with the developers of the popular Pokemon Go game to make a live-action film based on the creatures.

Legendary, which is partnering with The Pokemon Co, will begin production next year for the movie, which will feature Detective Pikachu, according to a statement from the companies on Wednesday.

Toho Co will distribute the film in Japan and Comcast Corp's Universal Pictures will do so internationally, according to the statement.

Legendary, a unit of Wang's Dalian Wanda Group Co, is seeking to be the latest beneficiary of the frenzy surrounding Pokemon Go, a game in which people use augmented reality to catch creatures with their phones.

The game's popularity has led shares of Nintendo Co to nearly double this month, making it the best-performing stock on the MSCI World Index.

Since Pokemon was first introduced in Japan in 1996, more than 279 million video games based on the characters have been sold worldwide.