Asahi: 3D films of Mario, Zelda, other games may be a few years away.
The game company Nintendo is in tie-up talks with multiple production companies throughout the world to enter the movie business. According to the Asahi Shimbun paper, Nintendo aims to strengthen its character franchise business and grow the number of people playing games. Asahi says that 3D animation of Super Mario Brothers and other popular games may be seen in a few years.
The newspaper is reporting based on responses from Nintendo‘s current president, Tatsumi Kimishima, in an exclusive interview. Thus far,Nintendo‘s involvement in movie-making has mainly been in the form of giving production companies the rights to use its characters for fees. However, Kimishima said, “We want to do as much as we can ourselves.”
Asahi reports that Nintendo has not just Japan, but the United States and the rest of the world market in mind, and that the company aims to complete the first work in this new venture in two to three years. The company is looking not just into movies, but also into selling projects on home video throughout the world.
Kirishima specifically refrained from naming specific characters such as Mario, but said he wants to use intellectual property popular worldwide. Asahi indicates the potential for 3D animation movies with such game characters as Mario and The Legend of Zelda protagonist Link.
The Super Mario Bros. game franchise previously inspired a 1993 live-action film, which Kimishima acknowledged was not well-received. Disney licensed the use of the Mario Brothers games’ antagonist Bowser from Nintendo for the 2012 3D CG movie Wreck-It Ralph.Nintendo also agreed to let the 2015 live-action Pixels film use its Donkey Kong character.
When The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Netflix is producing a live-action television program based on The Legend of Zelda video games, Nintendo told Niconico News, “We will not comment on the rumors or speculations.”
Shigeru Miyamoto, leader of Nintendo‘s Software Planning & Development (SPD) Division, told the business news website Fortune during E3 2015, “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.”
Universal Studios Japan and Nintendo announced in March that they plan to open a 40-billion-yen (about US$350-million) Nintendo-themed attraction at Osaka’s Universal Studios Japan theme park by the time the Tokyo Olympics are held in 2020.
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