Hollywood is going to take another stab at Super Mario Bros. While the 1993 live-action adaptation of the video game franchise stands as one of the most infamous movies of all time (I kinda like it—Goomba!), the video games themselves have continued to serve as icons in the ensuing decades. And now it appears Nintendo is ready to try again, as the company has announced that it is partnering up with Universal Pictures’ Illumination Entertainment to develop a Mario movie, confirming earlier reports that this was in the works. Details are slim, but the film will be based on the world of Super Mario Bros. and will star Mario as the main character.
Illumination is an animation powerhouse, churning out box office hits like the Despicable Me franchise, The Secret Life of Pets, and Sing, so financially speaking Nintendo is in good hands. Chris Meledandri, founder of Illumination and creative head on most of their films, will produce this Mario movie alongside Nintendo Representative Director Shigeru Miyamoto. The film will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo and distributed theatrically worldwide by Universal Pictures.
So why now? Well there’s one big reason: Super Nintendo World. It was announced in 2016 that Universal Orlando Resort had struck a deal to create a brand new theme park land revolving around all things Nintendo, using famous characters and games to create new theme park attractions at Universal Studios Orlando, Hollywood, and Japan.
Details are extremely slim as theme park stuff tends to be kept under lock and key, but you can bet this planned animated Mario movie came about as a way to further increase the visibility of the brand collaboration, and could even be released in conjunction with the opening of Super Nintendo World. A firm opening date for the theme park expansion hasn’t yet been set, but 2021 is a possibility. And given how huge the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has become, this thing could be big.
So stay tuned, folks. Nintendo nostalgia is about to enter warp speed.