The Super Mario Animated Movie Is Still Progressing Well During Lockdowns

The Minions studio is able to keep working on the movie because they work remotely.


Among the numerous Hollywood adaptations of video games in the works is an animated film based on Nintendo's Super Mario series. The film is slated to arrive in 2022, but some are wondering if the COVID-19 crisis may lead to a delay for the movie.

That remains to be seen, but a new report from Deadline paints an optimistic picture. The site reports that the Super Mario movie remains in "active development and production." This is made possible because the team at Illumination was working remotely already. "They've always worked remotely," Deadline reported.

A source familiar with Illumination's plans stated that the studio has been able to remain "extremely productive, innovative, and creative" over the past two months working remotely on its various movies. In addition to the Mario movie, Illumination is producing a new Minions movie, The Rise of Gru, and Sing 2. Two other original movies are in the works at Illumination that have not been announced.

The new Mario movie is Nintendo's second major attempt at bringing its beloved Italian plumber to the big-screen. The 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. movie was a critical and commercial failure, with star Bob Hoskins--who played Mario--saying it was the worst movie he's ever been a part of. Hoskins and co-star John Leguizamo reportedly drank whiskey between takes to get through filming.

For the new movie, Nintendo is more creatively involved, with Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto serving as its producer. While a producer cannot control everything, it seems like a good thing for the movie's creative direction that Miyamoto is involved.

Illumination boss Chris Meledandri said in an earlier interview that Miyamoto is staying "front and center in the creation of this film." This is a rarity in Hollywood.

"I've rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we're embracing Miyamoto," Meledandri said. "There's a history in Hollywood of people believing that they know better than the people responsible for a property. I've made that mistake before."

One of the reasons that the Mario movie is happening in the first place is because Meledandri told Miyamoto about his failures.

In addition to the Mario movie, Nintendo is licensing its Mario franchise to Universal for a Mario-focused theme park that could include real-life Mario Kart.

There may be an explanation for why Nintendo is working on so many licensing efforts. In 2016, then-CEO Tatsumi Kimishima said fewer and fewer young people are finding out about Nintendo 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, the executive said at the time.

While the Mario movie may still be progressing through production, the same cannot be said for another video game movie, Uncharted, which is live-action. Due to COVID-19, production has shut down on the film that will star Tom Holland as a young Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Sully.

Virtually all Hollywood movie and TV productions are currently shut down as governments around the world enact social-distancing rules that prevent large groups of people from gathering. New Zealand, which has some of the lowest number of cases of COVID-19 in the world, is reportedly getting close to restarting its movie and TV show productions. However, it could be some time before other countries began allowing shoots to begin again.

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