With a report released yesterday in the Wall Street Journal (paywall), it looks like Mario and Luigi are headed back to Tinseltown for another attempt at a movie crossover.
The deal is rumored to be near the final stages with Illumination Entertainment – the studio behind the Despicable Me movies, and the Minions film.
Did you all hear that? That sudden whoosh of air? That’s the collected sigh of relief from video game fans around the world when they realized that this is going to be an animated adaptation. We’ve all seen the attempts to make Mario a real guy, and it’s not a stretch to say it’s never really landed the way Nintendo expected.
For those of you either not interested, or not alive in 1993 when the Super Mario Brothers movie came out, let me give you a taste. This, my friends, is what the movie making world thought kids wanted when they thought of the plumber brothers jumping around on turtles:
My friends and I were all so excited to see this film. We played the games, we subscribed to Nintendo Power, and now our hobby was going to make it onto the big screen! Who’s a nerd now?!
After seeing it, and the attempts that Hollywood made to translate an interactive medium into a casual viewing experience – we were all crushed. The movie was panned, bombed at the box office, and showed the first cracks in the unstoppable juggernaut that was Nintendo.
I’m cautiously hopeful about this news, but video game adaptations are always a mixed bag. The recent success of Wreck-It-Ralph is the best example of the medium translating from your flatscreen to the silver screen, but one hit, vs dozens of flops is a concerning record.
For me, the pinnacle of Super Mario adaptation will always be Cap’n Lou:
With a studio that puts out pretty run of the mill animated films, Nintendo once again resurgent, and a multi billion dollar industry in everyone’s home – this might be the property that can cross the gap between movie and game. Add in the nostalgia glasses of adults who grew up on Mario, and who are introducing their kids to the games with the new Mini-consoles, and you might be looking at a big media hit, or another massive box office bomb.