What do Mortal Kombat, Max Payne, Super Mario Bros., Resident Evil, Tomb Raider, Need for Speed and Doom all have in common? Aside from being great games, they’re just a sampling of the many top-tier gaming franchises that have made the transition to the silver screen.
Hollywood has pumped out movies based on video games on a regular basis since the release of Super Mario Bros. in 1993. If you haven’t seen that film yet, don’t waste your time (it has a 16 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes).
In fact, the same can be said about the overwhelming majority of game-to-film adaptations which is mind-boggling when you consider the storylines that filmmakers have at their disposal. Sure, there have been a few decent game-based flicks over the years (Tomb Raider and Max Payne come to mind) but nothing has been worth writing home about.
Nintendo’s first foray into the movie industry was such an unpleasant experience that the company hasn’t returned since and has sparingly licensed its IP in other films. That may change in the near future, however.
A few months back at E3, Nintendo creative mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto told Fortune that they’ve had a number of people approach them over the years asking if they could make a standalone film or even a movie to coincide with a game launch.
Miyamoto added that because games and movies seem like similar mediums, people’s natural expectation is to take games and turn them into movies. But because games are an interactive medium and movies are passive, the two are actually quite different. As Nintendo looks to broaden its role as an entertainment company, Miyamoto concluded, they’ll think more about how movies fit into that.
What’s newsworthy now is something that was recently found buried in Nintendo’s June earnings report.
In it, the company said that as it relates to its IP, a more active approach will be taken in areas outside the video game business including visual content production and character merchandising.
Miyamoto, along with Shinya Takahashi, are now in charge of the company’s software planning and development division which, among other responsibilities, oversees the use of its characters in movies and television.
In February, a rumor surfaced claiming Nintendo was working with Netflix to develop a live-action series based on The Legend of Zelda. Unfortunately, Nintendo dispelled said rumor before it could gain much traction.
Just because Nintendo is open to partnering with Hollywood doesn’t mean we’ll see it happen anytime soon simply because the company already has quite a bit on its plate.
Executives have confirmed Nintendo is working on a next generation console dubbed “NX” but said it would wait until next year before releasing any details about it. Nintendo also revealed earlier this month that for the first time ever, it’ll start making games for smartphones through a partnership with Japanese gaming company DeNA.
Hollywood is always looking for the next great idea to base a blockbuster movie on. In fact, there are currently dozens of game-based movies in production or planned including Warcraft and flicks based on Tetris, The Last of Us and Watch Dogs, just to name a few.
I suspect that whenever Nintendo is ready to pursue its next film, studios will be clamoring to collaborate with them. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed that it won’t be another box office flop.
Lead image via Casey Curry, AP