Nintendo has confirmed earlier rumors and announced that they are developing an animated movie based on the world of Super Mario with Illumination, the animation studio behind Minions and The Secret Life of Pets. Details are scarce, but the project will be produced by Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination and Shigeru Miyamoto, Representative Director, Fellow of Nintendo. The film will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo and distributed theatrically worldwide by Universal Pictures.
Nintendo hopes the project will allow them to “pursue its goals of effectively leveraging its intellectual properties in mediums outside of video games, and of bringing smiles to people around the world.” While the Despicable Me creators at Illumination expect to “continue to fulfill its mission of infusing joy and discovery into every property, allowing worldwide audiences of all ages to connect with the beloved characters and story from one of the world’s most popular franchises.”
It’s been a long time since Super Mario last entered the world of animation. The last major entry was DiC’s Super Mario World series that concluded in 1991. It’s been almost as long since the plumbers have been on the big screen, with 1993’s disastrous live-action film reportedly giving Nintendo cold feet. A Japan-only animated Mario film Super Mario Bros.: The Great Mission to Rescue Princess Peach! debuted in 1986 (pictured).
Sony Pictures began developing a film centered around Mario’s longstanding platforming rival Sonic the Hedgehog. Development on that recently moved over to Paramount. Disney’s video game themed movie Wreck it Ralph is getting a sequel due out this November.
Illumination’s Super Mario film currently has no release window.