Skip to main content

Nintendo and ‘Minions’ studio partner up for a Mario movie

miyamoto on mario movie super odysses header
Back in November, the rumor mill began swirling with talks of a new Mario movie in production at Illumination, the animation studio known for films like Sing and Minions. But the movie is a rumor no longer, as Nintendo has officially confirmed it.

The Super Mario Bros. film, which doesn’t currently have a title, will be co-produced by Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri and Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario series, and it will be co-financed through Nintendo and Universal Pictures.

There is no word yet on who will direct or star in the film, but we have our fingers crossed that longtime Mario voice actor Charles Martinet is included. He has been playing Mario, Luigi, and Wario for decades, and his enthusiastic delivery is synonymous with the characters at this point.

Nintendo has mostly avoided film and television projects over the last few decades, with very limited success during the NES and SNES eras. The Super Mario Bros. Super Show is a cult classic, both for its cheesy lines and its live-action dance, but the feature-length Super Mario Bros. saw much less success.

The film, which starred Bob Hoskins as “Mario Mario” and John Leguizamo as “Luigi Mario,” took great creative liberties with the license. Dennis Hopper’s role as “King Koopa” — the previous name of Bowser — was bizarre and over-the-top, and though the film is objectively terrible, there’s a certain charm to it that makes it entertaining … as long as you ignore its creepy version of Yoshi.

The Universal Pictures partnership on the new animated film makes sense, as the two companies are already working together to bring a Nintendo-themed area to Universal Studios theme parks. The first of these is planned for Osaka, Japan, and though it is still far from complete, a teaser video released last summer showed Bowser’s castle, an icy area, warp pipes, and a flag at the top of a stairs-like grassy structure. Peach’s castle is also included in the teaser, and we hope that’s where we can go to enjoy a slice of cake after a long day of battling Bowser and his minions — but not those minions.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
5 game adaptations that could build a Super Mario Bros. Cinematic Universe

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is in theaters now and it’s getting a mixed reception. While some aren’t impressed by its thin story and Minions-like humor, Mario fans generally seem happy with what’s at least a visually faithful take on the iconic gaming series. There’s a good chance it’ll be a financial success even with middling reviews, so you can bet that Nintendo and Illumination are already cooking up sequel plans.

The next installment might just come in the form of Super Mario Bros. 2, but there’s real potential here for a new MCU: the Mario Cinematic Universe. With decades' worth of mainline games, spinoffs, and characters, there’s no shortage of material that could be used to build out Mario’s silver screen world. If Nintendo is looking to expand its cinematic ambitions, these five games could serve as inspiration for what Illumination’s next adaptation looks like.
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story

Read more
All the Easter eggs in The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Donkey Kong drives behind Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

Nintendo and Illumination's The Super Mario Bros. Movie has dropped into theaters, and fans are blown away by the exciting adaptation of their favorite plumber's games. This film harvests so much material from over 40 years of games featuring Mario and his friends that practically every moment in this film includes a clever Easter egg to its source material.

Now that the movie has finally been released, here is a comprehensive of all the Easter eggs in this cinematic video game adventure.
Super Smash Bros.

Read more
Is the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. movie really that bad?
Two men and a woman celebrate in Super Mario Bros.

In the long history of adapting video games to the big screen, there's been plenty of failures. Most video games don't work on the big screen for all the reasons you usually hear about: They're too expansive, too play-driven, or too focused on lore. In that long history, though, there's one movie that stands apart from the rest because of the sheer volume of stink on its reputation.

1993's Super Mario Bros. is perhaps the nadir of bad video game adaptations, and the movie every other adaptation seeks to avoid becoming. Now, as the world prepares for yet another big-screen Mario adaptation with The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it's worth looking back on this 1993 film and figuring out whether that reputation is actually merited.
Super Mario Bros. is, unfortunately, as bad as you remember
Super Mario Bros. (1993) ORIGINAL TRAILER

Read more