More Nintendo Movies Could Happen, President Says

Nintendo is currently working with Illumination on a Mario animated movie, and more might follow.


Nintendo is working with Minions studio Illumination on a Super Mario animated movie, and this could be just the first of multiple animated films based on a Nintendo franchise. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa told Fast Company that Nintendo is exploring additional opportunities in the animated movie space.

"Animation, in general, is something that we are looking into, and not just this franchise," he said of Mario.

Furukawa didn't share any more details on specific franchises that could be targeted for future films, but he did speak generally about Nintendo's approach to extending its franchises beyond games.

"We must make sure that the results are true to the players' experiences, and that they would never prevent Nintendo's developers from making another unique game featuring the same characters," he said.

Illumination's previous films based on major franchises, such as The Lorax and The Grinch, did depart from the source material in some notable ways. Some amount of adaptation would always be necessary to translate a franchise for the screen, but Furukawa stressed that Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto is directly involved with the new movie.

"It's not that we've asked Illumination to handle everything," the executive said. "Mr. Miyamoto is very, very hands-on with the production of this movie."

In 2016, then-Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima said Nintendo would look to create more licensing opportunities to help grow the appeal of its characters. Due to changes in the games business, a growing number of young people are learning about Nintendo's franchises not through games, but through licensed content like toothbrushes. With this in mind, Nintendo is looking at transmedia opportunities to grow the stature of its franchises.

"Due to changes in our industry, the proportion of young consumers who are first experiencing games on our systems has been falling," Kimishima explained. "We want to have everyone become familiar with our IP by reaching as many people as possible from an early age within their daily lives. Our long-term strategy is to spark our consumers' interest in playing Nintendo game systems and encouraging continued growth of our games business."

No future movies or TV shows based on Nintendo franchises have been officially announced. It was reported that Nintendo was working with Netflix on Zelda and Star Fox TV shows, but the company reportedly elected to cancel them when they leaked.

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