Nintendo May Abandon Mario Movie If The Idea Isn't Interesting Enough

Nintendo says it is prepared to "call it quits" if the idea for the movie isn't compelling enough.

29 Comments

Nintendo is making an animated Mario movie with Minions and Despicable Me company Illumination Entertainment. This was finally confirmed in January. Now, Nintendo has shared some further details about the much-anticipated movie, including the fact that Nintendo is not afraid to back away from the project if the idea is not compelling enough.

In the English translation of a recent investor Q&A, Shigeru Miyamoto, who is producing the film, started off by saying he has been thinking about an animated movie for "many years now." He said some wondered why Nintendo didn't do this faster, as some believe "making a game is like making a movie." But that's not necessarily the case.

"Interactive experiences are completely different from non-interactive media, and to make a movie I want a film expert to do the work," Miyamoto said about Illumination.

Miyamoto went on to say that he began discussions with Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri (who picked up an Oscar nomination for Despicable Me 2) more than two years ago. "Chris is extremely cost-conscious and time-conscious in his quest to make successful movies," Miyamoto said. Meledandri is also producing the untitled Mario movie.

Perhaps more notably, Miyamoto added that Nintendo and Illumination might decide to back away from making a Mario movie if the script doesn't live up to their standards. Right now, the screenplay is "progressing," Miyamoto said, though it remains to be seen who the writers are. In Hollywood, just because a movie has been announced, doesn't mean it will ever happen.

"We've talked together and share the feeling that if we can't make something interesting we'll just call it quits," Miyamoto said. "But we've already met a number of times to hash out the screenplay, our talks together are progressing, and I hope to make an announcement once we've ironed out some things like the schedule."

As previously reported, the plan is for the movie to be in theatres before the Tokyo Olympics in 2020; that's also when Nintendo hopes to have the Super Nintendo Land theme park open at Universal in Japan.

Miyamoto has previously experimented with film, even releasing a series of Pikmin shorts. Last year, Nintendo made it clear it was interested in expanding to films but that it would like to do "more than just license something."

1993's live-action Super Mario Bros. movie was a critical and commercial failure, with star Bob Hoskins--who played Mario--said it was the worst movie he's ever been a part of.

Over the years, Nintendo has been very hesitant to bring its franchises--which with Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and others are among the biggest names in all of entertainment--to movies and TV. Given their prominence in the entertainment world, Hollywood has surely come knocking for adapatations, and now it appears Nintendo is finally moving ahead. Netflix was reportedly interested in making a Zelda TV show, though this never happened.

As for why Nintendo is looking at more licensing deals, Kimishima said in 2016 that fewer and fewer young people are finding out about Nintendo games through...games.Instead, they're discovering Nintendo and its characters through things like officially licensed Mario toothbrushes. So you can expect these kinds of licensing deals to continue and possibly increase, Kimishima said at the time.

For more on Nintendo's latest investor Q&A, check out the stories linked below.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Avatar image for Pupchu
Pupchu

I gonna take a wild guess, and assume i speak for everyone here: A sequel to the 1990s live-action movie is desperatly needed. It ended in a cliffhanger, im dying to see how they mess up Wart...

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Dragon_Nexus

It's by Illumination. There's no doubt in my mind that it won't be interesting enough.

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JimClirad

But Nintendo's Japanese, so since they promised a movie to fans, they're going to put out a movie to fans. Remember, fanboys keep saying the only reason Wii U saw Zelda wasn't because it sold over 1.2 million copies, it was only because Nintendo promised it to fans, and being Japanese they had to deliver on their promises, meaning we're getting a movie, it was promised.

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InnerGame

They've should done it years ago.

Avatar image for chiefwiggum16
chiefwiggum16

Nintendo seal of quality, I like the sound of this

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kthulhu

@chiefwiggum16: Oh, the old Seal of Quality myth. You do realize that that seal was basically just an acknowledgement that the game actually functioned, right?

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chiefwiggum16

@kthulhu: which is much more than what we can say for game companies nowadays lol

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JimClirad

@kthulhu: actually it was more of them saying that the company paid Nintendo a licensing fee, that's why that same seal appeared on clothing, food, etc.

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Xristophoros

i don't think a good mario movie is possible. quit while you're ahead rather than tarnish the brand.

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RedWave247

@Xristophoros: I never thought a movie about Lego would be good, but Lego Movie and Lego Batman proved me wrong.

Avatar image for chiefwiggum16
chiefwiggum16

@Xristophoros: because Mario has never been in trash games before....

Avatar image for Xristophoros
Xristophoros

@chiefwiggum16: it's been a while. he has been in numerous mediocre games, such as mario tennis on the wii u, but "trash" games? hmmm... i can't think of any. does "mario is missing" count as a trash game? if so, that was back in 1992. yes, it is better not to tarnish the image of nintendo and if that means no mario movie, so be it. the odds of it succeeding are close to nill considering the franchise has never had a plot point worth a damn and nintendo is incapable of writing a decent storyline, even with the zelda franchise.

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chiefwiggum16

@Xristophoros: how about the endless amounts of crap Mario Party and Olympics games just name a few

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JimClirad

@chiefwiggum16: Sega and ND Cube are the developers of those two, I don't need to say anything more, when Nintendo doesn't do it, it's crap.

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Fartman7998

This might be controversial but honestly I think the original movie wasn't that bad. Good idea on paper at least. I liked it as a kid.

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Pupchu

@Fartman7998: Its bad, but its watchable.

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videogameninja

-"Nintendo says it is prepared to "call it quits" if the idea for the movie isn't compelling enough."-

I commend Nintendo (specifically Miyamoto.) for basically saying they have a certain standard that must be met in order for this movie to officially begin production but let's face it, if the money is there then Nintendo (let alone anyone else.) won't give 2 iotas (-Iota, Ninja? Really?-) whether or not the people behind this movie want to make Mario a female obstetrician who fights crime under the mantle the Pink Knight while being voice by the Rock Dwayne Johnson in 2078 or not.

As much as people want to remain true to the source material or have a certain level of pride in their work it doesn't matter at the end of the day. Hollywood beats to the march of it's own drum and if the "powers that be"'s demographics and sales data/statistics don't line up with what is being pitched (ex: "Our studies show kids like furry animals in movies, give Mario a pet cat!") then trying to go against that concept might leave an otherwise promising idea stuck in the land of movie limbo.

-MONEY TALKS NINJA APPROVED-

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Dimebag_Darrell

My only concern is if they can convince John Leguizamo to return. If not, count me out.

Avatar image for Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

You're just going to abandon all the money you've already spent? Unlikely.

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JimClirad

@Thanatos2k: look up a term called "production hell" companies spend millions of dollars every year for movies that are in the same state as this movie.

Avatar image for Dimebag_Darrell
Dimebag_Darrell

@Thanatos2k: Did you know that there are TWO completely filmed versions of "Back to the Future?" They originally wanted to cast Micheal J. Fox as Marty McFly, but his contract for Family Ties interfered. So they cast Eric Stoltz instead AND FILMED THE ENTIRE MOVIE.

When they cut everything together, they didn't like the results, so they worked out a deal with the Family Ties producers and refilmed all the Marty McFly scenes again with Micheal J. Fox.

There's an entirely seperate, unreleased cut of Back to the Future with Eric Stoltz and no CGI effects that people have only seen pieces of from DVD and Bluray special feature commentary footage.

Hollywood abandons money all the time.

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Thanatos2k

@Dimebag_Darrell: Uh, that's pretty much an example of not abandoning money - they instead spent even more to get the project completed.....

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@Thanatos2k: It’s actually highly likely. It happens all the time. There are countless movies that were even finished many years ago that will never see the light of day. It is much more costly to market a movie that ends up doing poorly, than it is to scrap it and cut your losses. Anyone who understands business understands that sometimes it’s best to scrap a project.

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DragonAtma

@Thanatos2k: If it's not fixable, it's just not fixable. It's the same reason why, if the first three hours of a game suck, people don't go "Oh, but I started playing game X, so I *have* to finish it!".

That said, many companies do fall for the sunk cost fallacy when the have an unfixable game-in-progress -- but obviously not every company does (which is why canceled games exist -- and I don't mean "canceled because the company went under"). Nintendo's a smart company, so they'll likely either find a way to fix it or cancel it; there's a reason there's no Mario 2006, no Duke Mario Forever, and no No Mario's Sky!

Avatar image for MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

@Thanatos2k: Smart business is exploring your options and perhaps pulling the plug on something you probably shouldn't do cus as we've seen nearly every game adaptation has been terrible.....

ever see Super Mario the movie??

Double Dragon, FAR CRY, Bloodrayne, Wing Commander, MORTAL KOMBAT ANNIHILATION, DOOM, Resident Evil 2 to 30 or whatever it is now......or even Max Payne.....ever see them??

good gods Max Payne should have worked, they had everything, film noir, hard boiled cop drama and John Woo shootouts, seedy criminal elements and a story so convoluted like any good noir story.....FFS they even had a femme fatale....and at all levels they fracked it up.....every aspect of it was cliche, boring, poorly done or poorly written or acted, the action sucked, the drama was meh.......Doom failed too and even that had better action and you can enjoy Doom on a purely mindless action level, not Max Payne.....I don't see mario being any better lol

yes i'm biased against game movies cus even the few I kinda like have all been panned to hell ensuring we never see a sequel......and the crap I despise gets too many sequels and makes way too much money.....

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OldDadGamer

@MJ12-Conspiracy: Problem is, video game movies fall into two categories: the ones based on story heavy games and the ones that aren't based on story heavy games. Both are doomed.

The story heavy game movies have the problem of either cramming 120 hours of game into a two hour movie (which never works) or cutting so much of the game/characters/whatever as to alienate a bazillion of the game's fans (watch: if they ever do make a Mass Effect game and cut half the companions, these comments will be cheesed off).

The games that don't have stories never work as movies because the story they come up with for the movie is always cheesy as cheese.

Either way, you wind up with something disappointing. Doubly so if it's based on a game you really love, as then it's something that tarnishes the video game brand.

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Avatar image for MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

@olddadgamer: sorry but here's how you do it right....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R64Inb4pPQk

^same crew who do the Nuka Breaks made that and good gods is it good....i'd gladly watch 2.5 hours of that no questions asked and even gladly throw $10 at it.....cus it's that friggin good.....even Fallout 4 is lacking in comparison.....

Avatar image for Sepewrath
Sepewrath

@olddadgamer: I actually think a game like Mario could work because its not heavy on story. There's no story to screw up or to overly condense. The whole save the girl thing has been done over 90 mins a movie since the beginning of movie times. Throwing together a simple story of Mario saving Peach is simple enough, it likely all comes down to the presentation.

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OldDadGamer

@Sepewrath: Maybe. Perhaps I just have some innate bias because the first one took time of my life I'll never get back.

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