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Legendary Game Designer Partners with Illumination for New Super Mario Bros. Movie

Published March 12, 2024
2 months ago

The creative minds behind the widely celebrated Super Mario franchise are powering up for another cinematic adventure. Nintendo Co. is working in tandem with America's powerhouse animation studio Illumination to deliver a sequel to the blockbuster Super Mario Bros. movie, as announced in a press release last Sunday. With a worldwide audience left captivated by the plucky plumber's animated escapades, expectations are sky-high for this next installment.

The partnership sees the return of two industry titans: Illumination founder Chris Meledandri as the producer and the man synonymous with Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, who originally brought the mustachioed hero to life in the 1980s. Their collaboration will undoubtedly fuel anticipation for the upcoming movie, set to hit theaters on April 3, 2026.

The announcement signals a cogent step in Nintendo's broader strategy—breaking ground in cinema with its coveted catalogue of video game icons. Following a successful pilot with the original Super Mario Bros. movie, which collected a princely sum of almost $1.4 billion in global ticket sales, Nintendo is further venturing into the movie industry while also enthralling its global fanbase. Adding to the momentum are returning talents Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, who will direct the sequel, along with Matthew Fogel who will once again take up the scriptwriting mantle.

Universal Pictures is slated to distribute the sequel, betting on the enduring popularity of Mario and his companions to draw audiences back to theaters. The continuation of the Super Mario Bros. saga displays Nintendo's keen interest in leveraging its intellectual properties beyond video game and console sales, aiming to tap into a different revenue vein.

Despite a marginal dip in Nintendo shares by 0.3%, the company's share price recently reached a historic peak. This slight drop doesn't overshadow the success Nintendo has seen, especially with the still-solid sales of its Switch console. However, the competitive horizon bears looming challenges. Investors express concern regarding the console's future, especially with newer, more advanced systems from tech giants like Sony Group Corp. and Microsoft Corp. entering the fray.

As Nintendo braces for competition during the upcoming holiday season, it has informed game developers of a postponed launch for the Switch's successor to early next year. The seven-year lifespan of the original Switch has been impressive, but it now gears up to go head-to-head with its rivals' next-generation consoles.

The desire to embrace cinematic storytelling with its treasure trove of intellectual properties reflects a strategic shift for Nintendo. Its financials illustrate this pivot: film-related revenue helped nearly double the company's mobile and IP-related business earnings to ¥75.2 billion ($512 million) in the nine months to December 2020. Following the blueprint of Super Mario's silver-screen voyage, Nintendo greenlit a live-action film inspired by the Legend of Zelda series. With Nintendo shouldering more than half the production costs and Sony Pictures Entertainment contributing funding and distribution, it's evident that the company is doubling down on its cinematic ventures.

With this move, Nintendo not only cements its commitment to bringing its legendary catalog into new realms but also stirs the imaginations of fans worldwide. It stands as a testament to the allure and durability of its intellectual properties. As audiences eagerly anticipate the return of Mario, Luigi, and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom's denizens, Nintendo prepares to level up its global presence and cultural impact.

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