Many of us wish it had never happened, but it did and forever cursed Hollywood adaptations of video games. Yes, we're talking about the ill-fated Super Mario Bros. movie, which turns 25 years old this month. In honor of such a momentous anniversary, we decided to look back at the film that has basically been disowned by everyone involved with its making.
Directed by Max Headroom creators Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, the feature film starred Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) and John Leguizamo (Ice Age) as Mario and Luigi Mario — yep, their last name was Mario —two Italian plumbers from Brooklyn who find themselves embroiled in an adventure to save a princess (Samantha Mathis) from the evil King Koopa (Dennis Hopper). Oh, did we mention there's a parallel universe of dinosaurs right beneath the streets of New York City called "Dinohattan"?
Almost from the very start, the project's production was, for lack of a better term, a sh**show. What was supposed to be a five-week shoot turned into a 17-week over-budget slog through something that would just barely resemble the popular video games that inspired it.
Clashes between the studio and directors caused constant confusion, not to mention the reportedly difficult egos of the directors themselves. Leguizamo and Hoskins hated working on Super Mario Bros. so much that they got drunk on set just to lessen the pain of a movie they knew would fail with critics and at the box office.
Twenty years after the fact, Leguizamo would go a little easier on the film, saying he was "proud of the movie in retrospect" and happy with the cult status it's achieved in the intervening years since its theatrical release.