Mario in Super Mario Galaxy

Nintendo Reportedly Close to Animated Mario Movie Deal With Minions Studio

Did we learn nothing from 1993?
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Rumors about Nintendo licensing their incredibly recognizable properties for movies and TV have been flying since—well, since the Mario Bros. movie tanked in 1993 and served as a cautionary tale for video game movies in general for decades. They’ve picked up considerable steam in recent years, though, with rumors of Zelda movies/TV shows and Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima explicitly saying that the company was looking to make partnerships to use their IP outside of video games.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, they’ve almost reached one of those partnership deals with the studio behind the Minions movie, Illumination Entertainment. That makes a lot of sense, considering Minions is ranked #13 for worldwide (non-inflation adjusted, for what that’s worth) box office totals, and Kimishima also mentioned a preference for animated adaptations in his comments about prospective partnerships.

It’s not a done deal, though, and we’ve been burned on reports like this before, so it’s best not to treat it like a sure thing just yet. However, it also lines up that talks to secure the deal have reportedly been going for about a year, with Nintendo’s main concern being the retention of a high level of creative control—another of Kimishima’s points last year.

But with all their interest in avoiding another bad Mario movie (although I kind of love the so-bad-it’s-good 1993 movie and don’t mind it taking a lot of liberties with the source material), I have to wonder what Nintendo thinks a good Mario movie is. The series isn’t exactly known for being revolutionary from a storytelling standpoint, even if Mario is possibly the most recognizable fictional character for many children (and adults). I have no doubt the movie would make piles of money, but I can’t help but be curious as to whether they’re going to play it detrimentally safe or what, if any, unexpected decisions will be made.

(via Brock Wilbur on Twitter, image: Nintendo)

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.