Nintendo and Illumination Entertainment, the animation studio behind the Minions and Despicable Me franchise, are close to a deal for a feature-length Super Mario Bros. movie, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reports that Nintendo and Illumination, which is owned by Universal Pictures, have been in talks for more than a year. Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s creative fellow and creator of the original Mario Bros. will reportedly serve as a producer on the film. The Journal previously reported that a live-action Legend of Zelda series was being developed by Nintendo for Netflix. Nintendo’s CEO, Satoru Iwata, denied those reports a couple of months later.
If the deal goes through, it will mark the first major feature-length film for Nintendo since the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. movie, which starred Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo and Dennis Hopper, outside of the ongoing Pokémon franchise. The licensing for Nintendo’s wealth of characters, which expand outside of the Super Mario universe, was eyed by other studios, according to the Journal.
Neither Nintendo or Illumination Pictures commented on the Journal’s report, but it’s not that much of a stretch. Universal Parks entered an agreement with Nintendo to develop multiple attractions based on the cavalcade of iconic characters the video game publisher owns. Polygon has reached out to both Nintendo and Illumination for comment.
The report notes that Illumination Entertainment, and Universal Pictures by default, could develop this into a multi-film franchise, akin to the Fast and Furious or Despicable Me (both are owned by Universal Pictures) universes. The only plans Nintendo and Illumination Pictures have at this time are for the one Mario movie.
There are little details about the proposed movie known at this time. The next venture between Nintendo and Universal, Super Nintendo World, is set to open in Universal Studios Japan sometime in 2020, with the attraction coming to Florida and California theme parks at a later date.
Update: A Nintendo of America representative told Polygon that “We have nothing to announce on this topic.”