Universal, Illumination Near Deal for 'Super Mario Bros.' Animated Feature

Universal's Illumination Entertainment is nearing a deal with Nintendo to make an animated feature based on the popular Super Mario Bros. video game, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

First debuting in 1985, the video game followed a mustachioed plumber, Mario, and his lanky brother, Luigi, in their quest to save Princess Peach from villain Bowser.

Illumination, which is behind the Despicable Me franchise and subsequent spinoffs, declined to comment. 

The video game was adapted into a live-action feature in 1993 that starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. Super Mario Bros., released by Disney, was panned by critics and bombed at the box office upon its release, but has since gained a cult following. The film's failure has contributed to why Nintendo has not allowed Hollywood to bring its properties back to the big screen since.

Illumination last released the feature Sing, which grossed $634 million globally, and is currently in production on Minions 2. (The first Minions feature grossed $1 billion at the global box office.)

Along with Super Mario Bros., Nintendo properties include the Zelda, Donkey Kong and Kirby games, as well as the massively popular Pokemon franchise. Last year, it was announced that Legendary Entertainment had closed a deal with The Pokemon Company, which handles all the franchise rights from the Nintendo game, for a live-action film franchise based on Detective Pikachu.

There have been 20 animated films based on the Pokemon stories and characters, but outside of these Nintendo has proved wary of Hollywood handling adaptations of its games. 

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