Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto has an idea why the 1993 movie flopped


Shigeru Miyamoto thinks a disconnect between the video game creators and the 1993 Super Mario movie makers led to its disastrous release.

With the arrival of The Super Mario Bros. Movie this week, there will undoubtedly be the odor of the 1993 Mario Bros. stinker billowing from the pipes. But that will only be for a certain generation who can’t get the image of dancing goombas out of their heads, as key people behind the latest movie barely discussed it during production.

In a joint interview with Variety, Shigeru Miyamoto, designer of NES’s Super Mario Bros., and Illumination founder Chris Meledandri, touched on the 1993 original Mario movie, although were apparently hesitant to even mention it by name. Miyamoto, however, feels like he knows why it was such a critical and commercial failure, citing his lack of involvement. “We were fearful of all the failure of past IP adaptations, where there’s a license and a distance between the original creators and the creators of the films…The fans get outraged and mad because the studios didn’t do justice to the original work. We really didn’t want a backlash.”

Meledandri, meanwhile, acknowledges that, other than this, the 1993 Super Mario movie was hardly part of the conversation. “If we talked about that earlier Mario film for five minutes in the last eight years, that’s an overstatement…What we were interested in building was a partnership that stood in stark contrast to what that process was in the early ’90s. Or in fact, in contrast to any other partnership between a Japanese creator and an American studio.”

The Mario property is long overdue for a proper adaptation. Sure, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! is fun and nostalgic (even working its way into a delightful easter egg in the 2023 movie), but the 1993 Mario adaptation left a foul taste that has been waving on the flagpole for three decades now. Despite middle-of-the-rainbow-road reviews–our own Chris Bumbray gave it a 6/10 review, which you can read here–it is expected to open big at the box office, potentially pulling in $90 million in coins over its five-day opening.

How do you feel about the 1993 Super Mario Bros. Movie? Is its reputation earned or does it have some redeeming qualities to it?

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