Nintendo is partnering with Illumination Entertainment, the company behind Despicable Me and Minions, to produce an animated film based on the Super Mario series. The project was formally announced last January following a report by the Wall Street Journal, and now Nintendo has revealed when it’s expected to hit theaters.
In Nintendo’s financial results briefing, president Shuntaro Furukawa announced that development on the Super Mario movie is “moving along for an anticipated theatrical release around 2022.” Nintendo didn’t share any other new details about the film, but it has previously been confirmed that Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto will be producing.
This, of course, isn’t the first feature film to be based on the Mario series. A live-action Super Mario Bros. movie released in 1993 and was a critical and commercial failure. Bob Hoskins, the late actor who portrayed Mario in the film, called it the worst movie he’s ever been a part of. Nintendo, likely wary of another flop, has said it may abandon the animated film if it isn’t “interesting” enough.
The animated Super Mario movie is part of Nintendo’s new initiative to leverage its IP beyond video games. Nintendo is also partnering with Universal Studios Japan to build a Super Nintendo Land theme park, which is slated to “open in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.” On top of that, Nintendo has announced it is opening an official Nintendo Tokyo store in Japan this fall.
Despite these new initiatives, Furukawa reaffirmed that Nintendo will remain first and foremost a video game company. “Nintendo’s core business will continue to be the integrated hardware-software video game platform business,” he said in the financial results briefing. The company has a number of big exclusives for Switch lined up for this year, including a new Animal Crossing game and a “core” Pokemon RPG.
Nintendo also has multiple smartphone games on the way. The company recently announced a Dr. Mario mobile game, which is due out early summer. However, its Mario Kart mobile game, which was originally scheduled to launch by the end of March, has been delayed.