There have been disastrous movies based on Nintendo games. No one can forget the Super Mario Bros. movie or the abhorrent Legend of Zelda cartoon. But some folks in Hollywood think the time might be right for Nintendo to take its properties to the big screen.
In an interview with Polygon, the CEO of Universe Films Adrian Askarieh said “The Nintendo brand transcends the platform. You can say Nintendo and for a lot of people it still represents video games. Everyone knows Nintendo, kids, adults; it’s multi-generational. They have these wonderful properties that most of us have grown attached to. For them to not take advantage of that would be a bad idea.”
Askarieh is already working on movies based on Kane & Lynch and Deus Ex. He used Marvel’s success in films as an example of what Nintendo might be able to do. In 2005, Marvel took creative control over their franchises and basically took out a loan for $525 million to make the films on their own. We all know what happened there. Movies based on the Marvel universe have been unbelievably successful.
“That was a huge risk for Marvel, but they did it and look at them now,” Askarieh said. “Nintendo should do the same thing.”
And he very well could be right. Lots of games recently have been or are in the process of becoming movies. Few of them have been successful, but they’ve all been live-action films. Most Nintendo properties would lend themselves well to animated films. And now that 3D animation is the standard (and it’s a good one) there’s practically no chance of an animated film looking bad. The only missteps could be in story or voice over.
Nintendo has actually dabbled in the water of animated films a little bit. In 2014, animated shorts based on Pikmin and created by Shigeru Miyamoto (who has helped to create basically every major Nintendo franchise) were released as downloads exclusively on Wii U and 3DS. We don’t know how successful those short films have been, but it could be sign that Nintendo is already on their way to becoming a creative powerhouse in movies.