Mario needs no introduction, of course, being Nintendo's iconic mascot and the star of any number of classic video games.
Super Mario Bros. has previously been adapted as an anime movie, an anime miniseries, several American cartoons, and a live-action movie. Having been thoroughly burned by the experience, Nintendo has avoided filmmaking ever since.
Case in point: according to the Wall Street Journal, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment are close to signing a deal with Nintendo to bring the beloved Mario Bros. back to theaters, in an animated film that will not feature any shrunken-headed Goombas, mechanical boots, or coked-up Dennis Hoppers.
That appears to have changed, as TWSJ claims Nintendo is nearing a deal to develop an animated Super Mario Bros. movie. Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the legendary franchise, would board as a producer. Finally, is this option a better one than trying to create a live-action film? Illumination produces its movies for distribution via Comcast-owned Universal, a potential relationship no doubt helped by the aforementioned Theme Park deals. While there have been plenty of hit movies based on video games - just look at the Milla Jovovich Resident Evil films - they nearly always suffer from bad reviews and mixed fan response. The traditionalist in me thinks that Illumination would be wisest to send its hero on a quest through the plains, pipes, seas, deserts, tundra, ghost houses, and cloud realms of the Mushroom Kingdom we all know and love, though perhaps the big screen is an opportunity to send the pint-sized Don Quixote on a quest brand new to lifelong Mario devotees.
Nintendo's now taking steps to make Mario's friendly face more recognizable outside his games, but this is the first we've heard about a movie in quite some time.