There's a Super Mario movie coming out from the people who brought to you the Minions film and according to the Illumination boss the Mario movie is "an ambitious task."
"The challenges is taking things that are so thin in their original form and finding depth that doesn't compromise what generations of fans love about Mario, but also feels organic to the iconography and can support a three-act structure," Illumination founder Chris Meledandri says in a chat with Variety.
It sounds like Illumination is facing some challenges translating a visual and gameplay-focused property like Mario and turning it into a film with dialogue and three-act story structure. That's understandable considering at its core Mario is about a plumber who stomps on bad guys and rescues Princess Peach (he occasionally goes karting or plays golf on weekends). Adapting Mario to film is difficult and a previous attempt to do so proved...weird.
Luckily Illumination says it has Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto helping in a big way. "We are keeping [Miyamoto] front and center in the creation of the film," Meledandri says. "I've rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we're embracing Miyamoto. 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."
It's unclear in what capacity Miyamoto is serving for the Mario movie, but it sounds like Illumination really needs his input on the creative process. Meledandri hopes to have the Mario film out by 2022.
Nintendo struck up a partnership with Universal first on the Universal Studios theme parks which will roll out Nintendo-themed attractions, and then with Universal subsidiary Illumination on a Mario animated film. Illumination previously made films like Despicable Me, Minions, and The Secret Life of Pets.
Nintendo announced in past quarterly reports that it plans on leveraging the popularity of its IP in non-video game markets like attractions and media. There are a lot of video game adaptations in the works right now including a Detective Pikachu film starring Ryan Reynolds, a Sonic film, and supposedly a Legend of Zelda show supposedly in the works from the showrunner of Netflix's Castlevania series, though that's only a rumor.
Either way it seems that the Mario film is still a way away and that adapting Mario to film is proving to be a bit tricky. Luckily there's plenty of visual materials to draw inspiration from so we'll hopefully see something exciting.