A little over two years ago, a small theater in Los Angeles hosted an event to celebrate twenty years since the release of the infamous Super Mario Bros. movie. Initially, I thought this event would be populated by a bunch of movie buffs who laughed at the film’s shortcomings and their hipster counterparts who hailed the movie for its artistic expression. Instead, I was greeted by a long line of dedicated Nintendo fans and moviegoers who were legitimately excited to see one of the worst rated films of all time.
There were props, concept sketches, interviews with production workers, and a free showing of the movie. It wasn’t until I heard the cheering and laughter during said showing that I realized that Super Mario Bros. had become something of a cult classic.
However, my question is why can a movie so despised and negatively criticized be so celebrated? Something tells me that the answer has been staring me down this entire time. “It’s-a me, Mario!”
Isn’t it astounding that no matter what movie or game this plumber has appeared in, his merchandise still flies off the shelf? It doesn’t matter how many Pixels cameos or Hotel Mario games are released, his intellectual property stands stronger than most other video game characters. An Assassin’s Creed Unity or a Sonic 06’ is enough to kill a franchise, but even at its weakest link, people are still supporting the iconic plumber.
However, regardless of their staying power, Nintendo has always been a very protective company when it comes to their intellectual properties outside of video games.
Earlier this year we heard rumors of both a Super Mario movie developed by Sony and a Zelda television show on Netflix. Nintendo struck down the Zelda show rumor, and comments on a Super Mario movie have been vague at best. So can we really expect to see the Smash Brothers on the big screen? Well seeing as that one of Nintendo’s biggest markets is a toy line and that they’ve been partnering with Universal to build a Nintendo theme park, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched.
As the Super Mario Bros. movie has proven, there is an audience for movies based on Nintendo characters. And most notably, the drawbacks to making these movies would be non-existent. People will continue to love Nintendo despite how bad a cinematic interpretation may be. And a good movie may bring a new form of revenue to Nintendo that can even help them expand their existing audience. So truly, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be seeing big-budget Nintendo movies in theaters some time in our near future.