Mario may be taking a second stab at the big screen. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Illumination Entertainment — the production company behind Minions and Despicable Me — is close to a deal with Nintendo to make an animated film based on Super Mario.
According to the report, Illumination has been in talks about the move for nearly a year, and the major sticking point for Nintendo has been ensuring that the company is heavily involved in the creative process. (This is not surprising considering the 1993 live-action Mario film was an infamous disaster.) If the movie does come to pass, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto will reportedly likely serve as a producer. Last year, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said that the company was in talks with several Hollywood companies about bringing the iconic character to the big screen.
While not yet official, the news is in line with Nintendo’s recent push to move beyond the traditional realm of video games. The company has started a mobile initiative to reach new customers, teamed up with the likes of Vans and Uniqlo for clothing lines, and struck up a deal with Universal for Nintendo-themed attractions at multiple theme parks. Meanwhile, the timing also seems to be right, with Mario fever in full swing; the mobile release Super Mario Run has been downloaded more than 200 million times, while Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch came out last month to rave reviews. That said, in 2015 the Journal reported that a live-action Legend of Zelda series was coming to Netflix, which turned out to be incorrect.
It’s far too early to tell whether or not Illumination can help Mario get past the jinx of video game adaptations — which includes recent high-profile disappointments like Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed — but at least we know that Mario and Minions are actually a pretty good fit.
We’ve reached out to Nintendo for comment.
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