Nintendo is in talks with Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment to make a Super Mario Bros. animated movie.
According to The Wall Street Journal (via Coming Soon), Nintendo and Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment(home to animated franchises such as Despicable Me, Sing and Secret Life of Pets) are closing in on deal that would give the studio the rights to make a Super Mario Bros. animated movie. Check out the official report below:
“Negotiations between Nintendo and Illumination have gone on for more than a year, and coincides with a deal struck last year for Universal theme parks to build attractions based on the Mario Bros. property. The video game’s creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, is expected to be a producer on the film and have a say in the creative development, alongside Illumination’s CEO Chris Meledandri. The film is still in the early stages of planning and wouldn’t come out for several years, and would be animated at Illumination’s Paris-based studio Mac Guff.”
This is a bigger deal than simply a studio gaining rights to a particular property. Nintendo has been notoriously protective of their gaming franchises since the universally panned 1993 live-action Mario Bros. film. That has prevented iconic properties such as Super Mario Bros., Zelda, Metroid, Kirby, Star Fox, Donkey Kong, etc. from being licensed out. There has been talk in recent years however of Nintendo softening on this stance, and there were even talks of a Legend of Zelda Netflix series in the works at one point (and instances of Bowser showing up in Wreck-It Ralph and Donkey Kong, Mario and the Duck Hunt dog appearing in Pixels).
Now this report is the first concrete news that a film/TV show based on a Nintendo property could be a reality. Imagine the endless possibilities this could open up. The Legend of Zelda has always been my favorite video game franchise and the stories and characters seem ripe for adapting for the big or small screen. Could you imagine a Lord of the Rings-esque Zelda epic in theaters or even a slightly more family friendly Game of Thrones style Netflix series? Sure all films based on video games have been poorly received (I was really hoping Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed would change that), but if anyone can change that it’s Nintendo. It’s already been stated that Shigeru Miyamoto will act as a producer on the project so that’s a step in the right direction.
Clearly I’m excited about the prospect of a Super Mario Bros. movie. I’ve been pulling for video game adaptations to be the next big thing in Hollywood for a while now. What do you think about this potential deal between Illumination and Nintendo? Are you interested in seeing a Mario Bros. movie?