A scant 22-years after the Super Mario Bros. movie burnt its way into the retinas of a generation of young, fungus-puzzled nerds, video game company Nintendo has started dropping hints that it might be looking to get in bed with Hollywood again. Fortune magazine, looking through the company’s earning statements for June, dug out this line, which seems to suggest a renewed interest in widening the company’s media reach: “For Nintendo IP, a more active approach will be taken in areas outside the video game business, including visual content production and character merchandising.”
While that’s not exactly the same as shouting “Let’s get a trilogy of Metroid movies into theaters by Christmas,” it does dovetail with statements one of the company’s top executives made to the site at this year’s E3. Super Mario Bros. and The Legend Of Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto, who’s currently acting as one of the company’s representative directors in the wake of president Satoru Iwata’s death, told journalists at the time that, while he thinks efforts to merge games and movies often miss out on the fundamental differences between the two mediums, “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.”
The Wall Street Journal set fan’s hearts gently pulsing earlier this year with rumors—quickly denied by Nintendo—that the company was working with Netflix for a Zelda TV show. But Nintendo characters have been cropping up on movie screens more frequently of late, with Bowser from the Mario games showing up for the villain’s support group in Wreck-It Ralph, and Donkey Kong appearing in Adam Sandler’s recent Pixels.
Of course, that last film is a good reminder of why the company has struggled with the expansion: video game movies are uniformly terrible. (Wikipedia’s list of game-based movies has a cavalcade of well-below-average Rotten Tomatoes scores, with the best-rated of the bunch, the Jake Gyllenhaal-starring Prince Of Persia, achieving the lauded rank of “merely forgettable.”) It remains to be seen whether Nintendo will ever be able to crack the curse, and finally transform Mario Kart into the gritty, Fast & Furious-esque street racer that fans have always demanded.