Sony Pictures working on a Mario deal?

Sony Pictures working on a Mario deal? 1

Somebody call John Leguizamo and tell him to grab his green coveralls and suit up, the mushroom kingdom is in need of a hero yet again.

As the madness continues to explode from the hacked Sony e-mail leaks, we’re learning something new every day. From the company wide disdain for Adam Sandler films, to the potential sharing of the Spider-Man license and a moderately racist list of what Obama’s favourite movies are, it looks as if Sony Pictures is in big trouble. However, as of today, another cache of leaked e-mails reveals that Sony wants some of that sweet sweet Mario money.

According to Buzzfeed, an email exchange between Avi Arad and Sony Pictures Co-Chairman Amy Pascal from October of this year reveals that Arad is “…the proud father of Mario the animated film,” and contained photos of Arad with Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata and Mario godfather/videogame legend Shigeru Miyamoto.


Pascal allegedly then sent an email to Tim Rothman of TriStar Pictures saying “Avi closed Mario brothers, animated,” but Arad has since denied this saying his negotiations with Nintendo were just beginning. As far as who was going to handle the film from a directing standpoint, no specifics were mentioned, however, Pascal does throw a name in the ring: Gendy Tartakovsky.

Tartakovksy is well known for his prowess when it comes to animated films, and comes with quite the resume to back it up. Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Lab and Star Wars: The Clone Wars are a few of the shows under his belt, all of which were both critically acclaimed and adored by fans. Unfortunately, it looks as if this just wishful thinking, with a representative for the director and animator saying that he “is not involved.”

Apparently Mr. Arad has been probing this potential for quite some time. An e-mail sent in February to Pascal from Sony Pictures Animation President of Production (wow what a mouthful) Michelle Kouyate indicates that Arad was headed to Japan to “meet with his Nintendo guy (who he has been courting for a couple years).” And in July, Arad told Pascal that he was “heading to Tokyo … I am going to try and bring back a little plumber. I guess we can all use our pipes cleaned.”

Reps from Nintendo have neither confirmed nor denied any of this, and the only solid feedback we’ve heard was in response to Buzzfeed’s original article with Arad saying the arbitration was only in the early phases.

Super Mario Bros. Movie Circa 1993
Super Mario Bros. movie circa 1993

It seems like a no brainer for Nintendo to sanction this movie. With the right people behind it the film could be huge, and while the company is notoriously reluctant to make movies based on their large and much loved catalogue of characters, the success of movies like Wreck it Ralph shows that there is a gigantic market for animated videogame movies. They’re probably still embarrassed about the live-action 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie, and they should be. Doom, Prince of Persia and Hitman have all reinforced the idea that if you’re going to make a movie based on a popular game, DO NOT make it live-action, this can only lead to disaster.

So we shall wait and see, but with all the chaos and cringe-worthy information being revealed by the massive hack it seems pretty unlikely that Nintendo would be willing to trust Sony with their biggest franchise at this point in time.

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