The long-running producer behind the Spider-Man movies, Avi Arad, is planning to make a series of Super Mario Bros. animated films next.
According to Buzzfeed, and later confirmed by Arad, Sony is actively working to get its hands on the film rights to Super Mario Bros. from gaming giant Nintendo, with plans to turn it into an animated/CGI film franchise.
According to emails that surfaced as part of the Sony hack, Arad told Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal (in an email dated Oct. 23, 2014, under the subject line “Mario”): “I am the proud father of mario the animated film [sic].” He then proceeded to forward Pascal two images. One was of himself with Shigeru Miyamoto -- the legendary videogame designer and Mario creator -- and the other one was of him with Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata. The latter pic included this message: “Happy ceo, lets get together, it’s the mother load. [sic]”
Then Amy Pascal allegedly passed that email along to Tom Rothman, who is the head of TriStar Pictures (which is a Sony subsidiary) with this added message: “Avi closed Mario brothers. Animated.”
In a followup email on Oct. 24, sent to Sony Pictures Animation president of production Michelle Raimo Kouyate, Arad thanked her for a Mario Bros. merchandise basket that she sent to him, with Kouyate answering back by saying: “Thank you Avi Let’s build a Mario empire! I can think of 3-4 movies right out of the gate on this. So huge!”
It seems that Arad has been pursuing the Super Mario Bros. franchise for a while now. Kouyate told Pascal in a Feb. 24 email that Arad was traveling to Japan partly “to meet with his Nintendo guy (who he has been courting for a couple years).” Then a couple of months later, on July 14, Arad sent this email to Pascal: “I am heading to Tokyo … I am going to try and bring back a little plumber. I guess we can all use our pipes cleaned.”
Now, this is all cool and very exciting, but what does Avi Arad actually have to say to this? Once the story broke, the Amazing Spider-Man producer responded to the reports with a statement essentially confirming the talks but cautioning that this is “just the beginning.”
What do you guys think? Do you believe Arad is the man to bring Nintendo’s long-running videogame franchise Super Mario Bros. back to the big screen as a series of animated flicks? Or should we look back on that 1993 live action debacle as a cautionary tale?