Speaking to Polygon, Askarieh, who is working on movie versions of Square Enix’s Deus Ex and Kane & Lynch properties, said it would be a mistake if Nintendo didn’t take advantage of the popularity of its franchises.
“The Nintendo brand transcends the platform,” he said. “You can say Nintendo and for a lot of people it still represents video games. Everyone knows Nintendo, kids, adults; it’s multi-generational.
He also believes the risk is worth it, given how well known Nintendo’s characters are, and noted the success Marvel has had since making its big bet.
“They have these wonderful properties that most of us have grown attached to. For them to not take advantage of that would be a bad idea.
“That was a huge risk for Marvel,” Askarieh added. “But they did it and look at them now, Nintendo should to the same thing … The more iconic the characters are, the better the movies they will make.”
Roy Lee, producer of the superb Lego Movie, echoed similar sentiments on February 17 at the 2016 DICE Summit, when he said a film with Nintendo characters would be the “holy grail.”
“Zelda, Mario, the whole universe of characters, I feel like could be perfect for a Lego Movie-type movie,” he said. “I don’t have the rights to it, I would love to–that’s my holy grail.”
Nintendo’s last attempt at bringing Mario to the big-screen was both a critical and commercial failure. 1993’s Super Mario Bros. live-action movie was very poorly received. Since then its characters have been cameos in other movies. Bowser, for example, appeared in Pixar’s Wreck-It Ralph and, more recently, Donkey Kong was in Adam Sandler’s Pixels
Leaked emails previously revealed that Sony Pictures was in deep negotiations with Nintendo to acquire the film rights to make an animated Mario movie, but nothing more about the project has been heard of since.