'Super Mario Bros.' Movie: Shigeru Miyamoto Working Closely to on the Film

If watching the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie felt like it didn’t have much to with the actual Nintendo games, that’s because Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto was barely involved. But thankfully, Illumination founder Chris Meledandri is learning from the past and plans to keep Miyamoto close to production on the new Super Mario Bros. movie, expected to release in 2022.

In an interview with Variety ahead of Illumination’s The Grinch, Meledandri says the studio is keeping Miyamoto “front and center” on production of Illumination’s Super Mario Bros. Meledandri’s words suggests that Illumination is learning from the past, where creators like Miyamoto have been historically kept away from Hollywood productions based on their own creations.

“We are keeping him front and center in the creation of this film,” Meledandri told Variety. “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.”

Shigeru Miyamoto created Mario as the protagonist of the popular 1981 arcade game Donkey Kong. He also created a number of Nintendo’s most iconic characters and franchises, including The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Pikmin. His status in the video game industry is equivalent to Stan Lee, the elder statesman of the Marvel brand who cameos in almost every Marvel movie — even alongside characters he didn’t create.

Official headshot of Shigeru Miyamoto.


Meleandri added that the Super Mario Bros. movie is an “ambitious task,” and. He said the challenge is in 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.”

Given that Illumination is the same studio that built a whole popular franchise starring yellow blobs that speak only in gibberish, it’s possible to they know what to do with characters such as Mario, his brother Luigi, and an entire Mushroom Kingdom’s worth of unique characters.

Super Mario Bros. is expected to release in 2022.

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