Shigeru Miyamoto Discusses Illumination's Super Mario Bros. Film
posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Nintendo published an interview with Nintendo Representative Director, Creative Fellow, and Super Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto in a corporate management policy briefing on Saturday. In the interview, Miyamoto discusses Illumination Entertainment's planned animated film adaptation of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros. game franchise. Miyamoto said:
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 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.
Nintendo announced earlier this month that Universal Studios' subsidiary Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions, Sing) has begun planning the animated film. Miyamoto and Meledandri are credited as producers. 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.