Shigeru Miyamoto displayed cautious optimism towards a potential ‘Mario Movie’ in an investor Q&A. Speaking of his working relationship with producer and Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri, Miyamoto said "We’ve talked together and share the feeling that if we can’t make something interesting we’ll just call it quits."
That seems to be a very sensible outlook for both Nintendo and Illumination – as this is an incredibly high-profile deal for both. Nintendo has bided its time in bringing an animated Mario movie to the big screen, and anything less than Lego Movie levels of public and critical adoration would have to be considered a failure.
However, it’s unlikely that the near-deified Nintendo would take most of the stick from fans if the film didn’t pan out as expected. And so despite getting its hands on a once-in-a-lifetime licensing opportunity, Illumination will have the spotlight on it like never before.
It makes sense then that both parties are being cautious before greenlighting the film. "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," said Miyamoto.
The schedule is still to be announced of course, though some have reported that the movie could be ready in time for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Though that seems a tall order if the script is still being developed and there’s a focus on getting everything just right.
Not that work hasn’t been going on for a while, around two years saif Miyamoto: "We started our conversation over two years ago, and finally reached the stage where we could make an announcement. Chris is extremely cost-conscious and time-conscious in his quest to make successful movies. We decided to try making a movie together, and distributing the completed movie globally through Universal Pictures."
And there remains the possibility of tying the movie into the upcoming Nintendo theme park. "I was introduced to Illumination via Universal Parks & Resorts, with whom we are developing theme park attractions," said Miyamoto.
It’s an incredibly exciting prospect. Mario remains a massive character in terms of merchandising, but with a film, or series of films, on his side, then he could truly rival Marvel or Star Wars – and send sales of the Switch into orbit.