Nintendo’s Super Mario, the plump and plucky Italian-accented plumber-slash-hero from the “Super Mario Bros.” is easily one of the most iconic characters in videogame history. He and the characters from his franchise are quite popular in their heyday that they got adapted into an animated series and even a 1993 live-action movie from Disney label Hollywood Pictures. The latter was a flop panned by fans of the game, and no talk of any new “Mario” movie project was undertaken until 2018. Now, the first serious strides to a new “Super Mario” film were made with a cast and premiere announcement.
The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Nintendo and Universal Pictures via its Illumination studio have pegged the release of their “Super Mario Bros.” movie during the Holiday season next year. The reval was made during the annual Nintendo Direct, which showcases new upcoming games for Nintendo platforms like the Switch. Rather than live-action this big-screen Mario adventure will be animated, with the show-runners of “Teen Titans GO!” on Cartoon Network as co-directors. It also has some contemporarily prominent stars in its principal voice cast, namely Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen, Kevin Michael Richardson and Sebastian Maniscalco.
Chris Pratt is a surprise and promising choice to play Mario. His previous acting credits had him play a raptor trainer (“Jurassic World”), a Marvel Superhero (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and even give his voice to a LEGO minifigure. His “Lego Movie” costar Charlie Day is cast as Mario’s brother Luigi. Anya Taylor-Joy (“The New Mutants”) plays Princess Peach while Jack Black is perennial franchise baddie King Bowser. Another unexpected element is the inclusion of another Nintendo franchise character, Donkey Kong, voiced by Seth Rogen.
The film is a passion project between Illumination studio founder Chris Melendandri and Nintendo bigwig Shigeru Miyamoto, aka the creator of “Super Mario.” Their joint statements about the project had pointed references to the earlier 1993 adaptation starring John Leguizamo and the late Bob Hoskins. Its box-office failure led to Nintendo’s holding off on any further Hollywood offers for their licensed franchises until this past decade. “The production so far is constructive and going very well, and both parties are learning a lot from each other,” says Miyamoto. “We humbly ask that fans wait just a little longer for the premiere, and we hope they look forward to seeing the unique characters from Super Mario Bros. on the big screen.”
The yet-untitled “Super Mario” is expected to premiere late next year on December 21, 2022.
Image courtesy of MovieWeb