Posted on Thursday, September 11th, 2014 by Germain Lussier
Back in 1993, Nintendo officially released their first, and last, live-action movie. Super Mario Bros. was a critical and financial disaster and since then, almost everyone agrees the experience of that film (which you can read about in full, incredible detail right here) has soured the company on licensing their other iconic characters – besides Pokemon – to Hollywood.
Now, however, Nintendo is working on some kind of secret “research project.” The first result of it is a Pikmin movie, produced by gaming legend Shigeru Miyamoto. Titled Pikmin Short Movies, it’s an animated anthology, comprised of three different short films, and will debut next month at the Tokyo International Film Festival.
Unless you’re a Pikmin fan, that alone isn’t particularly exciting. I’m more curious of the subtext. The creator of Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda is producing movies now? What could that mean for the future of Nintendo movies?
Variety broke the news of Pikmin Short Movies premiering at the Tokyo International Film Festival. The shorts included in the film are called The Night Juicer, Treasures in a Bottle and Occupational Hazards and will be presented at the festival by both Miyamoto and Nobuo Kawakami, the chairman of Japanese telecommunications company Dwango and a producer-trainer at Studio Ghibli.
Again though, Variety says this film was made “as part of a research project for the giant Japanese games company.” The inclusion of Kawakami suggests the project could be something to do with streaming or online exclusive content, of which these Pikmin shorts would certainly fit.
But what if it’s something more? What if now, two decades later, Nintendo is finally ready to start producing films based on such legendary properties as Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and Metroid? A few years back one of the Zelda producers told Kotaku that he and Miyamoto had been discussing a Zelda movie, but only if they could change what a movie could be. It’s possible this research project, paired with a major telecommunications company, could somehow blend cinema with data in a way that Nintendo likes. A way where they can keep their cherished and lucrative properties out of Hollywood’s grasp (a grasp that ruined the Super Mario Bros. movie) but also satisfy the desires of fans.
Or maybe it’s just a much more simple explanation. Something like they’re making short, downloadable Nintendo movies for the WiiU. Still, the fact Miyamoto is producing movies, with someone who has ties to Ghibli, should be on your radar, especially if you’re someone who has always dreamt of seeing their favorite Nintendo characters on the big screen.
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