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Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros.

In this day and age, it’s not surprising when a blockbuster film gets leaked just before hitting theaters – hell, just a couple of weeks ago, Avengers: Endgame leaked days before its release.  So when people began spotting a “leaked” version of Detective Pikachu that suddenly appeared on YouTube yesterday, the internet began to flock to the site in the hopes of watching the upcoming Warner Bros. film.

But the video, which is titled “Pokemon Detective Pikachu: Full Picture” wasn’t actually a screener copy of the film, instead it’s an ingenious marketing stunt.  With convincing opening credits typical of any Warner Bros film, this video opens with the company’s theme song and emblem and even includes a watermark in the upper-left hand corner, showing that this particular copy came from “R. Reynolds.”  What follows the opening is more than 100 minutes of Pikachu, in all its detective gear, doing some type of aerobics workout, with a colorful 1980s background and accompanying soundtrack. We’d like to imagine Jane Fonda or Richard Simmons is right next to the little guy.

Nothing changes, it just goes on, and on, and on for the length of some feature films.  It might seem like it’s a little odd but whoever thought it up deserves a serious raise.  After just a few hours, the video went viral basically grabbing anyone who might’ve been looking to watch a free copy of the film and rickrolling them – which, let’s be honest, is why YouTube was ever invented.  Then those people who view it are sharing it on social media and, thus, a never-ending cycle sure to make the people at Warner Bros. happy. As of Wednesday, the video was at just over 7.5 million hits and climbing steadily.

This is perfect timing for Detective Pikachu, which is set to hit theaters this weekend, as audiences might be looking for a new film.  It’s earned an average score of 70 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and stars Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith and Ken Watanabe.  It’s the first live-action Pokemon film from the United States and is expected to do very well.