Leaked Emails Show Sony and Nintendo Discussing Mario Movie

Sony Pictures reportedly deep in negotiations with Nintendo to obtain animated film rights for Nintendo's iconic franchise.

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The trove of emails recently unearthed and leaked to media from the massive Sony hack have revealed that Sony Pictures is working hard to secure the rights to make an animated Super Mario Bros. movie.

BuzzFeed obtained a series of emails that speak to Sony's deep negotiations with Nintendo over the rights. In an email dated October 23, 2014 with the subject line "Mario," producer Avi Arad (Spider-Man) explained to Sony Pictures executive Amy Pascal that, "I am the proud father of mario the animated film."

Arad also sent Pascal images of him standing next to Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata, saying, "Happy ceo, lets get together, it's the mother load. [sic]"

Bob Hoskins in 1993's Super Mario Bros.
Bob Hoskins in 1993's Super Mario Bros.

At this point, it seemed as if Arad's negotiations with Nintendo for the Super Mario Bros. animated film rights had been finalized. Pascal sent the above email to Tom Rothman of Sony Pictures subsidiary TriStar Pictures, saying, "Avi closed Mario brothers. Animated."

Arad has since denied that Sony's deal with Nintendo for a Super Mario Bros. animated movie has actually gone through, telling BuzzFeed that his negotiations with the Japanese game giant are "just the beginning."

Still, it appears Sony has already spent some time thinking about how it could build out a Mario animated film series. Pascal mentions in a subsequent email that she thinks Genndy Tartakovsky, director of Hotel Transylvania and creator of Dexter's Laboratory, would be "perfect" for the job of bringing Mario to the big screen for Sony. However, a representative for Tartakovsky said he "is not involved."

Other emails from Sony Pictures executives say a deal with Nintendo could lead to a "Mario empire" for Sony, which may already have as many as four movie ideas in mind.

Sony and Nintendo are competitors in the console space. However, no emails were discovered that spoke to Sony Pictures feeling anxious or concerned about pursuing the Mario movie deal even though Sony Computer Entertainment (i.e. PlayStation) and Nintendo are rivals.

GameSpot has contacted Nintendo and Sony for comment.

The most recent Mario movie was 1993's Super Mario Bros., starring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi. Hoskins, who died earlier this year, said the Mario movie was the worst project he'd ever been involved with.

The Mario movie, if indeed it's happening, would become one of many video game movies currently in development. Ubisoft has a total of six films in the pipeline, including movies based on Assassin's Creed, Watch Dogs, and Splinter Cell. Meanwhile, Sony is making a Last of Us movie, Konami is moving forward on a film based on Metal Gear Solid, Blizzard Entertainment has its Warcraft movie, and an Angry Birds film is scheduled for 2016. Capcom is also working on new Dead Rising and Resident Evil movies.

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