When rumors of a Nintendo and Illumination partnership was announced for a Super Mario, fans were surprised. That surprised turned into complete shock when the deal was made public, with a movie based on the Nintendo icon coming out before or during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, at least if Shigeru Miyamoto gets his way. For those wondering how and why the partnership was made, keep reading.
During a phone call that was translated by Bleeding Cool, it was revealed that Miyamoto and Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri agreed on a deal due to a similar vision and work output. Miyamoto is making sure that the project goes well, otherwise they will quit and not make the film. Given how big a license like Mario is, there’s no doubt that they will try to make this happen.
Considering how previous media adaptations for a Nintendo franchise has gone, the bar to beat past incarnations isn’t high. The live-action Super Mario Bros. was a critical and financial bomb, and it wasn’t faithful to the games at all. There were also several Saturday morning cartoons based on Nintendo properties like Super Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, and Captain N, all of which were terrible.
Here is the full statement from Miyamoto:
I’ve been considering an animated film for many years now. There has long been talk that Nintendo could make a movie because “making a game is like making a movie.” But they are completely different to me. Interactive experiences are completely different from non-interactive media, and to make a movie I want a film expert to do the work. Thinking that way, I have talked with all sorts of different movie directors and producers, and eventually I was introduced to Illumination via Universal Parks & Resorts, with whom we are developing theme park attractions.
As a producer, Chris Meledandri (Illumination’s CEO) is noted here for movies like Minions and Sing, but he is a veteran with a ton of experience, including the movie Ice Age and stints at companies like 20th Century Fox Animation. When I talked with Chris, he said he had read a lot of interviews with me and felt we had a similar approach to creation. Talking about our similarities, we clicked and decided maybe we should do some kind of collaboration. We started our conversation over two years ago, and finally reached the stage where we could make an announcement. Chris is extremely cost-conscious and time-conscious in his quest to make successful movies. We decided to try making a movie together, and distributing the completed movie globally through Universal Pictures.
We’ve talked together and share the feeling that if we can’t make something interesting we’ll just call it quits. 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.