‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Is a Hit, But When Are We Getting a New ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Movie?

The Super Mario Bros. could follow in Sonic the Hedgehog‘s footsteps.

Movies based on video games have a very shaky history, especially in Hollywood. While they are rarely critical favorites, films such as Resident Evil, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and 2019’s Pokémon: Detective Pikachu earned solid enough box office to warrant sequels. Now the stigma towards video game movies — at least as financial gambles — could be nearing its end.

After all, Sonic the Hedgehog has overcome low expectations and initial backlash to the title character’s design. Now, the film — the first based on Sega’s signature series — is emerging as one of 2020’s biggest hits to date. Against a production budget of $85 million, Sonic the Hedgehog has already earned more than $200 worldwide after just two weekends.

Could Nintendo’s own prolific mascots, the Super Mario Bros. be far behind?

The Super Mario Brothers at the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards Mexico
The Super Mario Brothers at the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Mexico | Victor Chavez/Getty Images

Get ready for a ‘Sonic’ boom of video game movies

The box office of Sonic the Hedgehog is, of course, bolstered by how well the movie leverages nostalgia. Director Jeff Fowler’s film is an adaptation of a game series that peaked in the 1990s. But it also wisely cast one of that decade’s biggest stars as its over-the-top villain. Would Sonic the Hedgehog have brought in such crowds without Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik? We’ll never know, but ultimately, Hollywood will react as it always does.

With the film so deftly weaponizing its core fan base, other studios are no doubt already checking to see which game series they have the rights to. For Sega, that means Sonic the Hedgehog will definitely get a sequel. But the company is also likely considering other properties that warrant big-screen treatment. Prior to Sonic the Hedgehog, the only Hollywood film based on a Sega game was the 2003 flop House of the Dead. Brace yourselves for more.

The first ‘Super Mario Bros.’ movie was a disaster

No video game series has made as seismic an impact on the industry as Super Mario Bros. Since the titular game was released in 1985, Mario and his brother Luigi have spawned an extensive list of hit titles and a multimedia empire. Naturally, Nintendo’s early attempts to capitalize on this success led the company to consider a film adaptation. With such a colorful, whimsical world, how could a Super Mario Bros. film go wrong?

Well, it went wrong in a big way. The 1993 movie starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as Mario and Luigi, respectively. And it cast aside the bright, cheery tone and imaginative character designs in favor of something grimy, grim, and gross. The result was a critically reviled box office bomb both stars later revealed was a horrible experience to make.

Super Mario Bros. was the first major attempt to take a hit video game to the big screen. As such, its failure started the trend on a sour note. No wonder the industry still bristles every time a video game movie is announced. We’re willing to bet fans will react a bit differently if everything goes as planned with the upcoming Super Mario Bros. reboot.

‘Super Mario Bros.’ is coming to theaters in 2022

Going back to 2014, rumors began to circulate about a new Super Mario Bros. movie — an animated one. Now the film appears to be “moving along smoothly,” according to reports. Although cast and crew announcements are still a-ways out from being confirmed, we do know Universal Pictures and Illumination are tackling the project.

Illumination is best known for the Despicable Me franchise and the Minions films. So that at least gives fans some idea about the visual style and tone the studio could be bringing to Super Mario‘s world. Nintendo recently offered an update on the project, which is aiming for a 2022 release. Both Nintendo and Universal will fund the project, it appears, with the former retaining the rights.

Nintendo has been taking huge steps towards expanding its brand in recent years. So we’re not surprised a second attempt to make movie stars out of Mario and Luigi is a key part of it. The games created such a vivid, expansive world that — if Illumination does it right — there’s no reason Super Mario Bros. can’t sustain a long-running franchise. Loyal fans might have had to wait nearly 30 years for Mario’s redemption after that first film. But it’s on the way at last.