Earlier this month, Nintendo announced that it had partnered with Minions and Sing studio Illumination Entertainment to develop an animated Super Mario Bros. film. This is the first theatrical feature film based on a Nintendo franchise — not counting the jointly-owned Pokémon — since the widely panned 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film. Though it’s unlikely Illumination’s movie would suffer the same fate, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto is setting his standards high.
Speaking at a financial Q&A, Miyamoto revealed that he has been considering developing an animated film for “many years,” but was hesitant due to the different nature of noninteractive entertainment. Once Nintendo found Illumination and CEO Chris Meledandri, he changed his mind, but Miyamoto hasn’t jumped into the pool with both feet quite yet.
“We’ve talked together and share the feeling that if we can’t make something interesting, we’ll just call it quits,” Miyamoto said. “But we’ve already met a number of times to hash out the screenplay, our talks together are progressing, and I hope to make an announcement once we’ve ironed out some things like the schedule.”
Provided that Illumination doesn’t delay any of its current projects to make way for the Mario movie, it could be at least a few years away from release. Sing 2, Minions 2, The Secret Life of Pets 2, and The Grinch are already in the works at the studio.
Though Nintendo hasn’t experimented with feature films in many years, noninteractive projects based on its games have still been released from time to time. Prior to the launch of Star Fox Zero in 2016, an animated short titled, Star Fox Zero: The Battle Begins was released for free on YouTube. It was more successful than the game ended up being, with the series’ classic humor and action done well in an anime style. Konami’s Castlevania, which began its life on Nintendo systems, was also adapted into an animated series for Netflix. It captured the tone of the original games perfectly, and its second season is scheduled to premiere this summer. It will include eight episodes instead of the mere four included in the first season, and stars game characters like Trevor Belmont and Alucard.
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