A goofy, live-action adaptation of the hugely popular Nintendo video game that starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo, Super Mario Bros. (above) did not fare well with critics or audiences upon its theatrical release in May 1993. (Opening against Sylvester Stallone’s Cliffhanger probably didn’t help.)
Since then, Nintendo has been involved with a limited number of animated movies and TV shows. Recently, for example, we’ve been hearing about Detective Pikachu, based on the Pokemon video games, which will mix live-action and animation; Ryan Reynolds stars.
Now comes word that Mario and his brother Luigi will be making their triumphant return to the big screen. Nintendo is teaming with Illumination Entertainment, the people behind the mega-successful Despicable Me franchise, as well as The Secret Life of Pets and Sing, to produce a movie based on Mario. Shigeru Miyamoto, who created the original video game, will serve as a producer.
Nintendo and Illumination are partnering on a movie starring Mario, co-produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri! pic.twitter.com/wVRPLIzcGJ
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 1, 2018
Universal Pictures will distribute the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter, but no other official details have been revealed yet. Still, looking at Illumination Entertainment’s impressive resume and focus on animation, it’s safe to say this will be an animated movie aimed at a younger audience.
It all makes perfect sense, too, considering that last year’s adaptation for the Nintendo Switch video game system, Super Mario Odyssey, has received wide critical and popular acclaim. So a movie that adapts a similar aesthetic could make Mario into a big-screen star, at last.