Mario and Luigi are coming to the big screen—and Illumination wants to get it just right.
Speaking to Variety, Illumination founder Chris Meledandri shared some his plans for an animated version of Super Mario Bros. Meledandri, who produced Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets, said he doesn’t want to make the same mistakes as the first Super Mario Bros. movie, which was released in 1993 as a live-action film (and has a four-star rating on IMDb).
“I like that this was not done well the first time,” he said. “I think that’s more exciting or more worthy than simply making another version of a film that was done incredibly well to begin with.”
One way Meledandri plans to improve the movie is by working with Shigeru Miyamoto, the designer and producer of the Super Mario Bros. game. They are reportedly keeping Miyamoto “front and center” in the creative process. “There’s a history in Hollywood of people believing that they know better than the people responsible for a property,” he said. “I’ve made that mistake before.”
Discussing the challenges of developing the Mario Bros. for a movie, Meledandri said he knows how ambitious it is, and that he needs to consider the fans:
“The challenge is 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.”
The movie, which is in “priority development” at Illumination, could be in theaters by 2022.