Ever since 1993, when Nintendo released their first and last official live-action movie, the critical and financial disaster Super Mario Bros., the company has been notoriously protective over their characters and franchise. However, a recent interview with legendary game designer Shigeru Miyamoto suggests that Nintendo is finally reconsidering their stance on cinematic adaptations.
In an interview with Fortune, Miyamoto — who oversees Nintendo’s Software Planning & Development Division — stated that the company has received a lot of offers to pursue film opportunities in the past, but has been reluctant to pursue them due to inherent differences between movies and video games.
“Because games and movies seem like similar mediums, people’s natural expectation is we want to take our games and turn them into movies. … I’ve always felt video games, being an interactive medium, and movies, being a passive medium, mean the two are quite different.”
However, the company is slowly starting to open up to the possibility of new Nintendo films. While Miyamoto was “quick to deny” rumors of a Netflix-produced live-action Zelda series, Nintendo is determinedly shifting direction as an entertainment company in order to keep up with changing audience demands.
A few months ago, Nintendo President Satoru Iwata revealed plans to create digital content for smartphones. Shortly after, Universal Parks announced a partnership with Nintendo, including plans to bring Nintendo-based “immersive experiences” and “major attractions” to the Universal theme parks. The company also slightly loosened their hold on film adaptations — allowing for character cameos in 2012’s Wreck-it-Ralph and 2015’s Pixels.
Nintendo formally announced their interest in expanding IP-development via a subtle, but significant statement of intent buried in the June Earnings.
“For Nintendo IP, a more active approach will be taken in areas outside the video game business, including visual content production and character merchandising.”
Miyamoto’s quotes exchoed that statement, clarifying that feature films are indeed a part of that new approach.
“As we look more broadly at what is Nintendo’s role as an entertainment company, we’re starting to think more and more about how movies can fit in with that—and we’ll potentially be looking at things like movies in the future.”
Any enduring company is going to have to evolve with its audience, and no doubt the entertainment industry has seen significant changes since the release of Super Mario Bros. Do you think a re-entry to Hollywood is the right move for Nintendo? What property would you want to see hit screens first? Sound off in the comments.