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Nintendo Planning to Produce Films Based on its Characters

TOKYO —  Game maker Nintendo plans to make films and other content from its line-up of game characters, president Tatsumi Kimishima has revealed in an exclusive interview with the Asashi Shimbun newspaper.

Kimishima said that the company would underwrite its filmmaking venture with earnings from the sale of its share in the Seattle Mariners baseball team, announced in April. “As soon as the sale of the team is finalized we will use part (of the earnings) for our new visual contents business,” Kimishima said.

Nintendo has previously licensed its characters for films, including a long-running animation series based on its Pokemon game characters and the 1993 Hollywood flop “Super Mario Bros.,” but Kimishima emphasized that company now intends to invest directly in production, requiring a larger injection of funds. Kimishima did not provide a timeline, but said that the company plans to “decide on what form (the business) will take in the not distant future.”

Kimishima also hinted at talks with Hollywood studios but added that the company is also looking beyond Hollywood for international partners. “We want to work with partners who can develop (this business) on a global scale,” he said. Both live-action and animated films are possibilities, with Nintendo‘s popular Zelda and Super Mario characters likely to be cast as heroes, though Kimishima declined to give details: “All I can say is that characters everyone knows will appear.”

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