In November, The Wall Street Journal reported that Nintendo was nearing a deal with Minions and Despicable Me studio Illumination Entertainment to make an animated Super Mario movie. Now, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima has said the company is getting close to officially announcing a partner for the film, which remains officially unannounced.
As reported by Game Informer, Kimishima told the Japanese newspaper Kyoto Shimbun that Nintendo hoping to reach a deal soon and then, if all goes to plan, officially announced the Super Mario movie not long after that. The plan is for the movie to be in theatres before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020; that’s also when Nintendo hopes to have the Super Nintendo Land theme park open at Universal in Japan.
The WSJ report from November said that Nintendo planned to have a creative role in the production of the film, and that series creator Shigeru Miyamoto will potentially serve as a producer. Miyamoto has previously experimented with film, even releasing a series of Pikmin shorts. Last year, Nintendo made it clear it was interested in expanding to films but that it would like to do “more than just license something.”
1993’s live-action Super Mario Bros. movie was a critical and commercial failure, with star Bob Hoskins–who played Mario–said it was the worst movie he’s ever been a part of.
Over the years, Nintendo has been very hesitant to bring its franchises–which with Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and others are among the biggest names in all of entertainment–to movies and TV. Given their prominence in the entertainment world, Hollywood has surely come knocking for adapatations, and now it appears Nintendo is ready to move ahead. Netflix was reportedly interested in making a Zelda TV show, though this never happened.
As for why Nintendo is looking at more licensing deals, Kimishima said in 2016 that fewer and fewer young people are finding out about Nintendo games through…games. Instead, they’re discovering Nintendo and its characters through things like officially licensed Mario toothbrushes. So you can expect these kinds of licensing deals to continue and possibly increase, Kimishima said at the time.