Are Universal and Nintendo working on yet another deal?

November 14, 2017, 8:31 PM · Universal Studios and Nintendo already have announced a deal to bring Mario and other classic Nintendo video game characters to Universal's theme parks. Super Nintendo World is under construction at Universal Studios Japan for a 2020 opening. But could the two companies be working on another deal, to expand their partnership?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Universal's Illumination Entertainment is nearing a deal with Nintendo to return the Super Mario Bros. to the big screen.

Illumination Entertainment... is close to an agreement with Nintendo Co. to make an animated “Super Mario Bros.” movie based on the 32-year-old videogame series about a pair of sibling plumbers who fight evil turtles and mushrooms in a fantasy kingdom, said people with knowledge of the discussions.

Super Marios Bros. previously appeared in live-action form, in a 1993 film from The Walt Disney Company's old Hollywood Studios. That movie starred Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi, with Dennis Hopper as King Koopa and Samantha Mathis as Princess Daisy. Yeah, it was... interesting, with Hoskins calling it the worst thing he ever did.

Illumination lately has been hitting consistently for Universal, however, with its Despicable Me and Minion films as well as Secret Life of Pets and Sing — all of which have grossed at least half a billion dollars. Each. With Nintendo lands coming to Orlando and Hollywood (well, at some point), a Mario movie on Universal's release schedule would drive Comcast's corporate promotion machine into the stratosphere, orbit, the uncharted reaches of interstellar space.


Replies (10)

November 15, 2017 at 2:48 AM · It would be a mistake. Every design choice in Super Mario Bros is made beacause of the gameplay. It makes sense to play it, but not to watch it.
November 15, 2017 at 7:47 AM · That's gonna be huge. Anything with Mario or Zelda will easily be in the $0.5 to $1B range if done right. Few franchises have such cross generational appeal as Nintendo.
November 15, 2017 at 7:50 AM · I love it! The Mario Bros movie didn't work mostly because Mario is not made to be live action! But a animated Mario Bros movie could help both sides, being that (even tough they still make money) Illumination could use with a new franchise on their hands.
November 15, 2017 at 8:01 AM · Disney would make it much better than Universal. Look at The Mummy with Tom Cruise - Pure LOL!
November 15, 2017 at 8:19 AM · The old movie could have worked had Hollywood not strayed so far from the source material. But they did that a lot with those early video game movies.
November 15, 2017 at 9:08 AM · If they keep the same type of humor that's been in the recent Mario games (esp. in the Mario Bro. adventures) I think it could work really well. There's something about the innocent little toads unexpectedly discussing their college days, talking about the latest dance craze or snapchatting that is hilarious.

The Mario cut scenes in his latest game are highly cinematic and the potential for epic action is certainly there. Might just work.

Unless they reduce it all to fart jokes.

November 15, 2017 at 9:15 AM · This could be great, or terrible. Time will tell...
November 15, 2017 at 10:00 AM · I think it all comes down to the story. While it's popularity is obviously connected to the gaming aspect of it, the IP has lasted all these years because people also like these characters.

Find a strong story worth telling & they'll be set. They already have the characters & this expanded universe filled with whimsical worlds & creatures.....

No doubt they'll want to incorporate everything Mario related, but it would wise to not just toss in these aspects randomly (because you know there's going to be a Mario Kart sequence).

Serve the story, & this could easily get the commercial & critical acclaim that something like the Lego Movie had....

The expectations might be low, so they could surprise audiences by actually delivering something that they weren't expecting.

November 15, 2017 at 8:11 PM · Disney could do it better than Universal? Disney would release the animated version, followed by 4 or 5 sequels, then an unnecessary prequel when those aren't making enough, followed quickly by a live-action remake of the original. It's sub-studios aren't doing any better. Marvel just keeps remaking the same movie (if it's broke, don't fix it!) Pixar is FINALLY making a non-sequel, and it has a similar plot to a movie already released. And don't get me started on Star Wars and its complete lack of originality. That said, WDAS has been making good AND original movies. And even their next two films are sequels.

Regardless, The Mummy was Universal. The article CLEARLY says Illumination. Illumination did not make The Mummy.

November 17, 2017 at 3:34 PM · Can anyone pitch a Super Mario Brothers film concept that would actually work and make sense? More importantly a film plot that would actually benefit from having Mario involved and not be a shameless tack on after thought?

I can only see 2 ways it would end: either a great film that doesn't need to be tied to Super Mario Brothers and they add zero to the plot. Alternatively you get a poorly made film propped up by the characters that is only being made for a cynical cash-in.

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