Universal Studios' Illumination to Animate Super Mario Bros. Film
posted on by Rafael Antonio Pineda
Nintendo announced on Thursday that Universal Studios' subsidiary Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions, Sing) has begun planning an animated film adaptation of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. game franchise. Illumination Entertainment founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and Nintendo Representative Director, Creative Fellow, and Super Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto are credited as producers for the project.
Both Nintendo and Universal Pictures are funding the project, and Universal Pictures will distribute the film worldwide.
The Wall Street Journal and The Hollywood Reporter both reported last November that Illumination Entertainment was "close to an agreement" with Nintendo to produce an animated film based on Super Mario Bros., with talks reportedly ongoing for more than a year. At the time of the report, a 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. The report also noted at the time that Illumination Entertainment's Mac Guff studio in Paris would animate the film, and that it was in the early stages of development.
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 last October. The game sold an estimated 2 million copies in the first three days.