Photo Credit: Nintendo
After the Sony leaks came out, BuzzFeed News noted emails involving Sony and Nintendo teaming up to create an animated feature all about the adventures of the Super Mario Bros. But is it real?
Ignoring the conflict properties (Sony has its own gaming system), this news is amazing. Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. pretty much defines gaming for those born in the 1980s. Over the years, the Nintendo Entertainment System has evolved with the players and Mario Bros. have always been along for the ride.
Information came through the hacked and posted emails. Producer Avi Arad sent an email to Sony Studio Chief Amy Pascal on Oct. 23, 2014, that declared, “I am the proud father of mario the animated film.” Arad later forwarded emails to Pascal, displaying images of the producer surrounded by Mario Bros. creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata. Iwata’s image included the message, “Happy ceo, lets get together, it’s the mother load [sic].”
Pascal—the star of the Sony leak, really—sent the email to TriStar Pictures head Tom Rothman announcing the news.
Animation works better for the plumber brothers.
In 1993, Buena Vista Pictures distributed a live-action version of the series and the move was universally panned. Bob Hoskins played Mario, John Leguizamo portrayed Luigi, and Samantha Mathis starred as Princess Daisy. Dennis Hopper’s King Koopa was particularly interesting.
With a $48 million budget, the film made less than half in the box office at just under $21 million. For obvious reasons, Nintendo’s been hesitant to release the properties to just anyone.
Arad isn’t a quitter, though.
In February 2014, Arad had been in talks with Nintendo, according to emails from Sony Pictures Animation President of Production Michelle Raimo Kouyate. As all Sony things, Pascal received word that the producer went “to meet with his Nintendo guy (who he has been courting for a couple years)” from Kouyate. In July, Arad sent an email directly to the chief, saying, “I am heading to Tokyo … I am going to try and bring back a little plumber. I guess we can all use our pipes cleaned.”
On Oct. 24, he sent an email to Kouyate, thanking her for a basket full of Mario products. She responded with “Let’s build a Mario empire!” Excited to have the project off the ground, he sent a message to Pascal, stating, “I can think of 3-4 movies right out of the gate on this. So huge!”
But what’s interesting is how close to the vest this has been played behind the scenes. BuzzFeed reports in July 2013, Miyamoto straddled the fence on possibility of a plumber or two hitting the big screen. “But we always have to take into account the fact that game entertainment and movie entertainment is quite different — one being passive, and one being active. Those don’t always necessarily mix.”
Maybe that’s why Arad refuses to claim a deal with Nintendo has been finalized, staying the talks and negotiations were “just the beginning.” If so and the Super Mario Bros. films aren’t produced, a lot of fans will be disappointed. As technology has grown, so has the visual media surrounding it. Mario went from being an 8-bit character to a 3-D, Pixar resembling hero. That means the media and skills are available. It’s just a matter of making it work together.
Hopefully, something will happen between Sony and Nintendo because who wouldn’t want to see an animated feature where Mario’s exploring pipes for coin and adventure, avoiding goombas and hopping turtle shells.
At least there won’t be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover, right? No one want to see Mikey sliding across a field on his back, and down ravine. Actually, if the animation was the 1980s 2-D version, that might be kind of fun, too.