The reports are coming in that Nintendo has made a deal with Universal’s Illumination Entertainment, the animation studio that makes the Despicable Me movies (as well as recent hits Sing and The Secret Life of Pets) to adapt Mario and co. into an animated movie.
The two companies are nearing a deal with negotiations going on for about a year prior to this since the theme-park partnership between Universal and Nintendo was announced. The film is potentially setting up a further franchise for the film studio. Don’t expect this to be rushed to screens anytime soon though, Illumination Entertainment currently has four untitled films slated for release in 2021, 2022, and 2023, and it doesn’t appear any one of those will be the Super Mario movie.
First debuting in 1981’s Donkey Kong, Mario would get his own game, Super Mario Brothers, in 1985. The classic game followed our mustachioed plumber, and his lanky brother, in their quest to save Princess Peach from villain Bowser.
The video game was later adapted into a movie starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper in 1993. Originally released by Disney, the film has become the nadir of many video-game-to-movie-adaptation discussions. Super Mario Bros. was panned by critics and was a box office bomb upon its release but has still gained a small cult following (crap will do that). The failure of that film has contributed to Nintendo’s apprehension to bring its properties back to the big screen.
Nintendo’s latest installment in the franchise Super Mario Odyssey received rave reviews, launching the world’s most recognizable plumber back into the zeitgeist. The game also was just nominated in several categories, including Game of the Year, at the 2017 Video Game Awards. Nintendo properties include the Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Kirby games, as well as the massively popular Pokemon franchise.
The animated Super Mario Bros. film is currently in “early development,” so an official release date is still a long way off.
Images: Nintendo, Disney, Universal