The Super Mario Bros. Movie is in theaters now, but it’s not actually Hollywood’s first attempt at a Mario movie. In 1993, directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton made the live-action Super Mario Bros., starring Bob Hoskins as Mario and John Leguizamo as Luigi. It was panned by critics.
A key difference between 1993’s Super Mario Bros. and The Super Mario Bros. Movie is that Nintendo is directly involved with the new animated movie, and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto himself is an executive producer.
Morton told Variety that he had a “polite” meeting with Miyamoto before production on the first Mario film began, but the two never spoke again. Nintendo basically licensed the movie to Hollywood, and the rest is history. Despite the cold reception to the movie, Morton claims Miyamoto actually enjoyed Super Mario Bros.
Had Miyamoto been more involved with the 1993 film, it might have looked different, Morton said. “If I’d have had a relationship with Miyamoto and brought him onboard, if he had been a producer and he understood what we were doing, he wouldn’t have let certain things happen,” he said. “We would have been a team, and it would have been a different film.”
The movie was marred by production issues, including a last-minute re-write and Leguizamo and Hoskins drinking on set. Hoskins, who died in 2014, said Super Mario Bros. was the worst movie he ever made, calling the production a “f**king nightmare.” Jankel told Variety that she has “massive regrets” about the movie.
“It was such a painful experience,” Jankel said. But at the same time, the director said in 2023 she sees the movie as a “really joyful experience that has found its place in the annals of history.”
Check out Variety’s interview with Jankel and Morton to learn lots more about what went wrong with the original Mario movie.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie blasted off on Wednesday with more than $30 million in the US after just one day. It’s expected to make $225 million worldwide by Sunday and climb up the charts to become one of the highest-grossing video game movies ever.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie features Chris Pratt as the voice of Mario, along with Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Peach, and Jack Black as Bowser. Charles Martinet, who voices Mario in the games, has multiple roles in the movie.
For more, check out GameSpot’s review of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. You can also read GameSpot’s feature interview below detailing the unearthed extended cut of the ’93 film.
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