Chris Meledandri, Nintendo Chris Meledandri, Nintendo

Chris Meledandri is set to strengthen his ties to Nintendo. The Japanese gaming titan is preparing to nominate the Illumination boss to its board of directors.

Meledandri and Nintendo have partnered on the forthcoming Super Mario animated feature, which Illumination is producing. In its report for the fiscal year ended March 2021, Nintendo stated:

Mr. Meledandri, the founder of Illumination Entertainment, has extensive experience as a film producer. We would like to nominate him as a new Outside Director with the expectation that he will appropriately supervise our companyʼs management from an objective perspective, while providing valuable advice to our organization, based on his broad experience and insight gained as a leader in the field of entertainment.

The nomination will be formalized at the company’s 81st annual general meeting of shareholders in June.

The Universal-owned Illumination is behind the $3.7 billion Despicable Me franchise — the highest-grossing in animation history — as well as Sing, The Grinch, the two Secret Life of Pets films, and more. Its next feature release, Sing 2, is due out on December 22, 2021. Meledandri was previously the founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation, where he oversaw the creation of the Ice Age franchise.

Last month, Nintendo global president Shuntaro Furukawa hinted that animated spin-offs may become a bigger part of its strategy in the near future: “Animation, in general, is something that we are looking into, and not just this [Mario] franchise.”