Super Mario Bros. Is Coming To The Big Screen Once Again
Mario and Luigi could be heading to the big screen once again in one of the highest-profile licensing deals by a Hollywood studio in years.
Illumination Entertainment, which makes animated films for Comcast Corp.’s Universal Pictures, is close to an agreement with Nintendo to make an animated “Super Mario Bros.” movie based on the 32-year-old videogame series.
Illumination, which made “Despicable Me,” “Minions” and “The Secret Life of Pets,” has been talking to Nintendo for more than a year about the movie. The potential deal follows an agreement Universal’s theme-parks unit made with Nintendo two years ago to build attractions based on Mario and other characters.
Having sold more than 330 million units for Nintendo Super Mario Brothers games and their spin-offs are widely believed to be the best-selling videogame franchise ever. Nintendo’s characters have long been tempting to Hollywood, particularly now that the movie business is driven by globally popular franchise films featuring well-known brands.
The most complicated issue in the negotiations between Illumination and Nintendo has been making the Japanese videogame company feel confident it will be involved enough in the creative process, said one person close to the talks. Nintendo’s creative guru, Shigeru Miyamoto, who created Mario Bros., has been part of the talks and likely will be a producer on the movie, along with Mr. Meledandri.