Illumination Entertainment is near an agreement with Nintendo to make an animated “Super Mario Bros.” movie based on the iconic video game franchise about plumbers Mario and Luigi, Variety has confirmed.
The companies denied comment on the report Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal. Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. games and spinoffs have sold more than 330 million units.
Illumination, which is owned by Chris Meledandri and Universal Studios, has produced the “Despicable Me,” “Minions,” and “The Secret Life of Pets” movies. Nintendo agreed in 2015 with Universal Parks and Resorts to build attractions based on Nintendo characters including Mario and Luigi.
Nintendo made a deal for 1993’s live-action “Super Mario Bros.” starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, and Dennis Hopper, but the movie performed poorly at the box office.
The newspaper reported that the “Super Mario” movie would be animated by Illumination’s Mac Guff studio in Paris and that the project is in the early stages of development. That means it will be several years before the movie is ready for release in theaters.
Video game movies have a mixed record in Hollywood. Three were released last year — Sony’s animated “Angry Birds”; Legendary’s live-action “Warcraft,” which performed well in China; and New Regency’s live-action “Assassin’s Creed.” “Angry Birds” turned in a decent performance with a sequel in the works for 2019.