Nintendo may actually be nearing the point of striking a deal to see Mario return to the big screen.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the company is close to an agreement with Illumination Entertainment, which is the studio behind the Despicable Me and Minions series. Talks have apparently been ongoing for over a year.
Furthermore, famed Nintendo designer and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto will apparently be the film’s producer.
It’s worth noting that The Wall Street Journal was the original source of claims that Nintendo and Netflix were in the early stages of making a live-action Zelda series that was said to be described as “Game of Thrones for a family audience”. The proposed series would have apparently stayed loyal to the games and will see “ordinary boy” Link battling across Hyrule to save Princess Zelda.
Nintendo was reportedly closely associated with its production. However, late former Nintendo boss Satoru Iwata later said the story “was not based on correct information”.
Talk of movie licensing has been coming from Nintendo for some time, however. In 2015 Miyamoto said: “We've had, over the years, a number of people who have come to us and said ‘why don't we make a movie together – or we make a movie and you make a game and we'll release them at the same time?'
“As we look more broadly at what is Nintendo's role as an entertainment company, we're starting to think more and more about how movies can fit in with that—and we'll potentially be looking at things like movies in the future.”
Indeed, claims that Nintendo was in talks with Sony regarding a Mario film were later proved correct, when the Sony Pictures leaks of 2015 unearthed evidence of discussions involving films covering properties such as Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong and Pokemon.
More recently in 2016 current boss Tatsumi Kimishima said that he hoped to release a film in the next two to three years.