Chris Meledandri, the founder of “Despicable Me” and “The Secret Life of Pets” creators Illumination Entertainment, has spoken some more about the company’s plans to make an animated feature based on Nintendo’s “Super Mario Bros.” property.
Back in January it was announced that Meledandri and game creator Shigeru Miyamoto will produce the film which will star Mario as the main character and be set in the world of the games. Universal Pictures and Nintendo will co-finance the film in what marks a very rare adaptation of a Nintendo property.
The property was previously adapted into the much-reviled 1993 live-action film that was so bad it turned Nintendo off from licensing other bigscreen adaptations of its work for nearly twenty-five years. Meledandri sees that as a challenge, one he intends to win with the help of Mario’s creator. He tells Variety:
“I like that this was not done well the first time. I think that’s more exciting or more worthy than simply making another version of a film that was done incredibly well to begin with.
We are keeping him [Shigeru Miyamoto] front and center in the creation of this film. I’ve rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we’re embracing Miyamoto. There’s a history in Hollywood of people believing that they know better than the people responsible for a property. I’ve made that mistake before.
It’s an ambitious task. 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.”
“Super Mario Bros.” is a ‘priority development’ at Illumination with the hope for it to be in cinemas by 2022.