When it comes to quality entertainment, video game movie adaptations haven’t exactly fit the bill. However, according to Illumination founder Chris Meledandri, the upcoming Super Mario Bros. movie could buck the negative stigma.
In a recent interview with Variety, the Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets producer revealed that the studio has been working closely with Super Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto to give the animated film its best shot. “We are keeping him front and center in the creation of this film,” Meledandri said. “I’ve rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we’re embracing Miyamoto.”
One such Hollywood project that Melendradi was referring to was 1993’s live-action Super Mario Bros. movie, which is widely seen as one of the worst video game film adaptations ever. While he explained he was also not a fan of that interpretation of the Mario universe, he did admit bringing the iconic character to the big screen has been daunting. “It’s an ambitious task,” he said. “The challenge 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.”
While the plot and voice actors for the animated movie haven’t been announced yet, Illumination’s efforts to stay true to what fans love about Mario should be encouraging. The studio has a few other films coming down the line, such as the new version of The Grinch, with the Super Mario Bros. flick expected to arrive by 2020.
The film could arrive around the same time as Nintendo and Universal’s other partnered project: Super Nintendo World. The companies previously announced that a new Mario-themed area will open in Universal Studios Japan in 2020, with the Hollywood and Orlando parks also receiving Nintendo rides in the future.