Nintendo Will Self-Finance and Produce Their Own Animated Films

By May 17, 2016

With Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed hitting theaters this year, and a Tomb Raider reboot on the horizon, Hollywood is still mining the video game culture in search of their next major franchise. Films based on the Uncharted and Mass Effect series are in various stages of development, and even Resident Evil is getting another installment, but among the various video game properties that are making their way toward the big screen lies a glaring omissions: Nintendo.

The company that started the gaming revolution has a number of original IPs that are ripe for big screen adventures: The Legend of Zelda has all the ingredients of an epic fantasy, while something like Metroid could make for an excellent science fiction story – with a badass female protagonist to boot. Fans have been clamoring for movies based on Nintendo’s most recognizable characters for years, so what’s the deal?

In an interview with Asahi News (and translated by Kotaku), Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima spoke about taking a different approach, creating their films in-house rather than licensing the characters to other studios:

“Now, we’re talking to various partners. In the not too distant future, I’d like to get some sort of form ironed out… But this time, rather than licensing, our current thinking is that we’d like to do as much as we can ourselves… It doesn’t necessarily need to be Hollywood and once it’s been decided where it will be, then at that time, we can talk about it. However, I want to do this thing together with a partner who is able to take things globally.”

So it sounds like Nintendo is looking to handle the production side of things, and then work with another entity for distribution. Kotaku points out that the company currently has a partnership in place to allow its characters to appear in attractions at Universal Studios Japan. Could we see a Nintendo film distributed by Universal in the near future?

As far as what kind of films they company is considering, Kimishima noted that the company has already tried their hand at live-action with the abysmal Super Mario Bros. adaptation, so they would “probably not” go down that road again, and instead could do “something like” a Disney or Pixar film. This seems to contradict recent reports of a Hollywood bidding war for rights to a live-action Pokemon film – but that film would be licensed to a studio, rather than being produced by Nintendo themselves.

When pressed on which Nintendo characters would be getting the big screen animated treatment, Kimishima declined to specify, acknowledging the “immense demand” for a Legend of Zelda movie and saying that he wanted the first film to be something “that is popular with everyone” and “something that everyone knows well.”

We’ll keep you posted as more news on Nintendo’s foray into filmmaking becomes available.

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Brent Hankins

Brent Hankins

Contributing Writer at GeekNation
Brent Hankins is a member of the Phoenix Critics Circle and co-host of the Drinks and Discourse podcast. He's also the proud owner of an Italian Greyhound named Sullivan. He's adorable (the dog, not the author).