Super Mario Galaxy Super Mario Galaxy

Nintendo is considering new avenues through which to develop its IP — and animation is on the cards.

The current project: The upcoming Super Mario animated feature is being produced by Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Minions) and due to come out next year. The gaming titan’s global president Shuntaro Furukawa told Fast Company that franchise creator Shigeru Miyamoto is closely involved. “It’s not that we’ve asked Illumination to handle everything,” he said. “Mr. Miyamoto is very, very hands-on with the production of this movie.”

More animation could be on the way: Furukawa hinted in the Fast Company interview that animation will be a bigger part of the company’s future plans: “Animation, in general, is something that we are looking into, and not just this franchise.”

A guarded approach to growth: Furukawa also elaborated on Nintendo’s broader strategy for IP development, which incorporates smartphone apps, merchandising, and theme parks, as well as “visual content” like the Mario movie. He sounded a note of caution: “Although the ways we are expanding our IP are increasing, we are very, very careful about where and how our IP is licensed. We are not deploying our characters and worlds merely to increase public exposure.”

Why it matters: Nintendo hasn’t shown big interest in extending its IP to film and television, owing in part to its in(famous) live-action feature Super Mario Bros. (1993), but the success of the 2019 feature Detective Pikachu, which grossed $433 million worldwide, showed that there’s demand for more content based on the characters it owns. The company has a rich and beloved catalog of characters, and opening it up to Hollywood will not only excite audiences, but also creators who want to work with the company’s characters.

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