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Nintendo increasingly considering movies

Miyamoto says company has been thinking more and more about its role in non-gaming entertainment

It's been more than 20 years since Super Mario Bros. flopped at the box office, and Nintendo may finally be ready to give feature films another shot. According to Fortune, Nintendo executive Shigeru Miyamoto has been working with Shinya Takahashi, GM of the company's software planning and development division, to oversee the use of Nintendo characters in films (like Donkey Kong's appearance in this summer's Adam Sandler movie Pixels, for example).

"As we look more broadly at what is Nintendo's role as an entertainment company, we're starting to think more and more about how movies can fit in with that-and we'll potentially be looking at things like movies in the future," Miyamoto told the magazine at E3 in June.

After hackers leaked a batch of Sony Pictures executive emails late last year, it became clear there was interest from Hollywood in revisiting Nintendo's properties as well. A series of emails from producer Avi Arad to then-studio chief Amy Pascal revealed that the producer had been talking to Nintendo about making a Mario animated film.

"We've had, over the years, a number of people who have come to us and said 'Why don't we make a movie together-or we make a movie and you make a game and we'll release them at the same time,'" Miyamoto told Fortune. "Because games and movies seem like similar mediums, people's natural expectation is we want to take our games and turn them into movies. ... I've always felt video games, being an interactive medium, and movies, being a passive medium, mean the two are quite different."

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Latest comments (8)

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing A year ago
It should be noted that the Cars movies don't make a lot of money for Disney

Cars merchandise makes them a fortune

Nintendo, stop making hardware, make games for everyone, crank that multimedia and stuff your pockets.
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Shane Sweeney Academic A year ago
Jeff if you got your wish regarding every thing you say about Nintendo they would lose everything special about them. I can't imagine a much worse legacy for Nintendo then just cranking out the the equivalent of Cars for the merchandising. (Mind you I'm not opposing they start making Movies though).

Film/Television/Music already exist under the banner of the big five media companies, video games is the one medium (excl. Sony) that is still largely independent. I have no doubt that one day Nintendo and Square will fold under the Disney banner, EA and Ubisoft under the Warner Brothers banner, ActivisionBlizz under GE etc etc. It would be nice to have a few more decades where video game companies can try their own thing and not just become another generic American media holding company. Once the old vanguard pass this will probably be inevitable, I'm not sure why we want to rush them to mediocrity.

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Shane Sweeney on 25th August 2015 1:58am

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Peter Caddock Head of New Technologies, Studio Liddell LtdA year ago
"The Legend of Zelda - Ocarina of Time" - the movie - say no more!

Yes please (true to brand though) no messing with characters or storylines or lands or anything, TRUE to the brand.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Peter Caddock on 25th August 2015 4:38pm

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Show all comments (8)
Barrie Tingle Live Producer, MaxisA year ago
@Peter, I think you meant to say "Super Mario Bros." - the movie - say no more :)

Even Bob Hoskins couldn't save it.

I bought a Wii U last week for Splatoon, thanks to Amazon points I got it for about $100 and I'm glad I did because the Wii U really isn't a $280 machine. I was surprised how few games the console has too instead opting to rely on virtual console and Wii titles. If Microsoft/Sony release Xbox One / PS4 and relied on last gen titles to fill out their handful of titles designed for the new machine they'd be ripped to pieces.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Barrie Tingle on 25th August 2015 5:10pm

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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing A year ago
Shane, there isn't anything particularly special about Nintendo, at least not for the last twenty-ish years

They float on a bubble of Nostalgia and are in a slow moving death spiral caused by being stuck in 1992. It's not a question of whether Nintendo will abandon hardware, it's a question of whether they do it before they're Sega and can no longer financially support it. Sure, that might be 2030, but it's going to happen.

Nintendo, for the moment still has the power to form relationships they control. People under twenty, by and large have no lasting relationship with the Nintendo brand or its franchises. They have a DS because it's what their parents will buy them and it has Pokemon. Mario, Zelda, metroid, etc, they have no real nostalgia for.

Nintendo goes third party, concentrates on the collectors, and establishing new, or revitalizing old franchises in molds the kids can and will latch onto. That is the only thing that stands a chance of long term independent viability.
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Farhang Namdar Lead Game Designer Larian Studios A year ago
Yeah I would love to see movies with Nintendo characters, as long as they don't have Asian scripts or dialog :)
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai SolveA year ago
Maybe I just don't have enough imagination, but I can't really see Mario ever working as a movie. The main reason is that the game is just about pure game-play and having fun with the platforming. Mario has never been about narrative, the narrative has always just served as context for the tasks Mario must do.

It's quite telling that every Mario appearance on TV or at the cinema has ignored so much of the source material, and mostly relies on new things the producers have came up with themselves. Despite consciously breaking canon, they still could not produce anything of value. With the movie, I can appreciate live action Mario is hard to do (but why do it then...), but the only thing that remotely looks like anything in Mario games is the uniforms Mario and Luigi wear. Even the cartoons couldn't resist adding in stupid things like completely new environments and characters.

Games series like Zelda or Metroid could possibly work as they have stronger narratives, but Nintendo would definitely have to be careful about who was tasked with the work. I swear if I hear another "excuuuuuse me Princess"...
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Adam Campbell Game Production Manager, AzoomeeA year ago
I have no doubt that one day Nintendo and Square will fold under the Disney banner, EA and Ubisoft under the Warner Brothers banner, ActivisionBlizz under GE etc etc.
I find that somewhat terrifying :0
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