Mario may be headed to the big screen once again. 24 years after the failure that is the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie, Nintendo is reportedly nearing a deal to make an animated movie based on the hit franchise.
That’s according to the Wall Street Journal, which reports that Nintendo is in talks with Illumination Entertainment, a subsidiary of Universal Studios responsible for movies like Despicable Me, The Secret Life of Pets, and Minions. The WSJ says the two companies have been speaking about the prospect for a year but that a deal is now “close” to being signed. As you’d expect, neither company is talking about the deal publicly just yet.
Nintendo has famously been hesitant to allow its franchises to be adapted into movies. The aforementioned Super Mario Bros., released in 1993, was a critical and commercial failure, although it did leave us with a truly magical cinematic moment. The WSJ notes that Hollywood has long been interested in Nintendo properties, given their worldwide success.
The report states that Nintendo would want to play a creative role in the film, and that series creator Shigeru Miyamoto (now a Representative Director with the company) 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.”
Illumination could make several movies as part of the deal, but a source said that only one is planned for now. We’ll report back as we learn more. Separately from this, Nintendo is working with Universal on a theme park.