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

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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.

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