Universal Studios’ subsidiary Illumination Entertainment is responsible for hit animated films like Despicable Me, Minions, and Sing. Now, they’re trying to adapt the classic Nintendo video game, Super Mario Bros into an animated movie. Universal Studios will be releasing the film worldwide, including Japan, with both the studio and Nintendo funding it.

Franchise creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, recently released an interview  in a corporate management policy briefing. The Nintendo Representative Director also serves as an executive producer for the movie, and he talked about Illuminations plans to adapt the classic game:

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.

Back in 2016, Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima revealed in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun that several Hollywood production companies are seeking to adapt their games into films. This may include this new Mario animated movie and the live-action Detective Pikachu movie starring Ryan Reynolds. On-set photos of the latter recently surfaced from London as well. Universal Studios is also handling the Detective Pikachu film.

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