Nintendo Hints At Future Animated Movies Beyond Illumination's SUPER MARIO Adaptation

Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions) is developing a Super Mario animated film that is set for release in 2022. But it sounds like Nintendo will continue to explore animated adaptations.

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Illumination Entertainment's upcoming animated Super Mario movie is slated to premiere next year, but it sounds like Nintendo will continue with the animated adaptations beyond its release. In a wide-ranging interview with Fast Company, Nintendo global president Shuntaro Furukawa alluded to future plans to adapt other Nintendo franchises into animated productions.

“Animation, in general, is something that we are looking into, and not just this franchise,” Furukawa hinted. Although he stopped short of actually naming any potential spinoffs, there's certainly no shortage of possibilities. Nintendo has one of the deepest gaming portfolios in the industry with some of the most iconic and beloved characters.

While Mario may be the most recognizable, there's certainly a rich cast of characters to choose from. The Legend of Zelda, Kirby, Donkey Kong, to name a few. Heck, these days it probably wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for a creative studio to figure out a way to turn a game like Animal Crossing into an animated hit.

It's worth mentioning that Furukawa did make note of Nintendo's cautious approach towards growing its IP. “Although the ways we are expanding our IP are increasing, we are very, very careful about where and how our IP is licensed," he warned. "We are not deploying our characters and worlds merely to increase public exposure.”

Movie and television series adaptations of popular video game franchises aren't always the best, so Nintendo's close-guarded approach towards these sort of expansion projects isn't necessarily a bad one. But the success of 2019's Detective Pikachu, which was a hit both critically and commercially, should bolster Nintendo's confidence in adapting its properties.

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