A YouTube video advertising itself as an online leak of Warner Bros.’ upcoming summer tentpole “Detective Pikachu” has gone explosively viral since publishing online May 7. In under 24 hours, the “POKÉMON Detective Pikachu: Full Picture” video has earned over 4.6 million views and counting. The clip starts in convincing fashion with the Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures title cards before transitioning into one hour and 42 minutes of Pikachu dancing. The video has turned into a marketing boost for “Detective Pikachu,” which has led many to question the source of the leak.
Ryan Reynolds, who voices Pikachu in the Warner Bros. release, tweeted out the fake movie leak to his 13.6 million followers, which no doubt helped make the YouTube video go viral and earn millions of views. Many suspect Reynolds is the man behind the video, although the YouTube account to which the video was uploaded from says “Inspector Pikachu.” The video’s title cards feature “R. Reynolds” in the top left corner, implying the leak was ripped from the actor’s personal “Detective Pikachu” file.
As fans of Reynolds know, the actor might already have experience leaking content in order to build online buzz for his projects. Reynolds’ “Deadpool” franchise was jump started after an animated test fight sequence “leaked” online and went viral. The clip showed the R-rated violence that was being planned for “Deadpool” and helped Hollywood realize there was serious demand for an adult-leaning comic book movie. Reynolds has not admitted to personally leaking the “Deadpool” clip, but it’s an open secret in Hollywood that he was the one behind it.
“Detective Pikachu” pairs Reynolds with rising star and “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” actor Justice Smith. The plot centers around a teenager (Smith) who teams up with the world’s most beloved Pokemon in order to track down his missing father. The movie is an animated/live-action hybrid that puts CGI Pokemon into real world settings. Reynolds already has one massively successful franchise on his hands thanks to “Deadpool,” and “Pikachu” seems primed to give him a second and more family-friendly one.
Warner Bros. is releasing “Detective Pikachu” in theaters nationwide May 10.
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) May 7, 2019