Remember that one news item last year that suggested Nintendo was interested in creating animated movies based on its iconic characters? Normally that’s the kind of announcement that slips into the ether and is never discussed again, but could there actually be momentum this time?
Today the Wall Street Journal (article blocked by paywall) reported that Nintendo is in negotiations with Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures for a possible CGI Mario movie. According to WSJ, the negotiations are going well and could result in a deal being made soon. Nintendo is tight-lipped about the article’s claims, telling Kotaku “We have nothing to announce on this topic.”
Illumination rose to prominence through their Despicable Me series and the popularity of the Minion characters introduced there. Their output is viewed by critics as middle-of-the-road; the kind of broadly-aimed, highly commercial films that won’t win any awards but won’t attract torches and pitchforks either. Of course, Illumination films also make heavy amounts of money, and that may be the most attractive factor here.
There are better studios out there, but Pixar doesn’t work with licensed properties and Disney would probably prefer to buy Nintendo outright. No matter how this movie turns out — and it’s still hypothetical at this point — it’d be pretty hard to do worse than Mario’s first and only theatrical adventure to date, released in 1993 and regarded as a mistake by everyone who worked on it.