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Animated Super Mario Bros. film at Illumination is keeping Shigeru Miyamoto at the forefront of creative decisions

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Nov 6, 2018, 2:46 PM EST

The biggest mistake made by the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie in 1993 was keeping Nintendo (and specifically the game's creator, Shigeru Miyamoto) out of the creative loop. What resulted was a film that barely resembled the beloved video game about a mustachioed Italian plumber who fights turtles and rescues princesses. 

Luckily, Illumination Entertainment, which is making an animated Mario movie at NBCUniversal (parent company of SYFY WIRE), is taking George Santayana's advice and not repeating the mistakes of the past where the Mario Bros. are concerned.

“We are keeping [Miyamoto] front and center in the creation of this film,” Chris Meledandri, founder of Illumination, told Variety. “I’ve rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we’re embracing Miyamoto. There’s a history in Hollywood of people believing that they know better than the people responsible for a property. I’ve made that mistake before.” 

The cinematic Mario Bros. project is currently in "priority development" at the studio, but it'll probably arrive sometime in 2022 at the earliest. That's because they're still trying to crack the tricky puzzle of turning a thin video game premise into a feature-length film. 

“It’s an ambitious task,” Meledandri continued. “The challenge is taking things that are so thin in their original form and finding depth that doesn’t compromise what generations of fans love about Mario, but also feels organic to the iconography and can support a three-act structure.”