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Nintendo Discusses Possible Super Mario Bros. Animated Film With Universal's Illumination

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto, Illumination Entertainment founder expected to produce film

The Wall Street Journal and The Hollywood Reporter reported on Tuesday that Universal Studios' subsidiary Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions, Sing) is "close to an agreement" with Nintendo to produce an animated film inspired by the Super Mario Bros. game franchise.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Illumination Entertainment has been in talks with Nintendo for more than a year about the film. The Wall Street Journal cited an anonymous person close to the discussion as saying that the "most complicated issue" in the talks "has been making the Japanese video game company feel confident it will be involved enough in the creative process." Nintendo video game designer and producer Shigeru Miyamoto, who created the Super Mario Bros. characters and franchise, has reportedly been part of the discussions. He is expected to be a producer of the film with Illumination Entertainment founder and co-owner Chris Meledandri.

The person with knowledge of the discussions said that the possible agreement could allow Illumination Entertainment to make multiple films based on the franchise, but only one film is currently planned. Illumination Entertainment's Mac Guff studio in Paris would animate the film, and it is reportedly in the early stages of development.

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima had said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun newspaper in May 2016 that Nintendo was in talks with production companies to make films based on its games.

The Buzzfeed website had reported in 2014 that Nintendo was in talks with Sony Pictures for film rights to the Super Mario Bros. franchise. The live-action Ghost in the Shell film's producer Avi Arad was linked to the production.

Nintendo is already collaborating with Universal Studios to produce Nintendo attractions for its Universal Studios Japan, Universal Orlando Resort, and Universal Studios Hollywood theme parks. Osaka's Universal Studios Japan began construction of its "Super Nintendo World" attractions in June.

Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel directed the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper.

The franchise's most recent game, Super Mario Odyssey, shipped for the Nintendo Switch on October 27. Nintendo revealed earlier this month that the game sold an estimated 2 million copies in the first three days.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal (Ben Fritz, Takashi Mochizuki), The Hollywood Reporter (Mia Galuppo)

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