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Not to be confused with Pixl.
Theatrical poster

Pixels is an action-comedy film released in 2015 and coproduced by Sony Pictures and Happy Madison Productions. Based on the 2010 short film of the same name, the film stars Adam Sandler as Sam Brenner, a down-on-his-luck home theater installer who through a series of events is hired to train the US military in fighting aliens attacking Earth with monsters based on arcade game sprites, including Donkey Kong.

The movie was critically panned, with reviewers complaining about the plot, as well as a perceived sense of lowbrow humor and inaccurate and unflattering portrayal of games and gaming culture, although the special effects were praised. The movie was also a box office disappointment, grossing US$245 million[1] on a US$145 million budget.

Mario-related elements in Pixels[edit]

Donkey Kong in the climax of Pixels

The film begins with Sam Brenner playing the original Donkey Kong game and being beaten by Eddie Plant (Peter Dinklage), who uses a cheat code (despite the fact that the actual game does not feature cheat codes and doing so would be counter-productive for an arcade game). Donkey Kong haunts Brenner as "the one game he sucks at".

Later in the film, an alien that has taken a form based on Mario's sprite from Donkey Kong can be seen running and jumping across a street, although none of the main characters are seen interacting with him.

The climax of the movie has the cast fight the leader of the aliens, who has taken a form based on Donkey Kong and is on a board resembling 25m. Donkey Kong starts throwing barrels. Sam Brenner grabs a Hammer and manages to get to the middle of the board, but has a breakdown when he cannot figure out Donkey Kong's pattern, and his insecurity over not being able to win the game gets to him. Matty (the son of one of Brenner's clients) then reveals that Eddie Plant cheated, giving Brenner the confidence he needs to get to the top and defeat Donkey Kong.


The original script of the movie did not feature Donkey Kong, but he was included after meeting with Nintendo and convincing the company Donkey Kong would be "treated with respect"[2].


  • Eddie Plant is a caricature of many well-known gamers[3], including Billy Mitchell, the controversial and then-current world record-holder for the arcade version of Donkey Kong.



  1. ^ [1] Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 4th, 2021
  2. ^ Angela Watercutter (July 22, 2015). DONKEY KONG ALMOST DIDN'T MAKE IT INTO PIXELS. Wired. Retrieved November 14, 2018
  3. ^ Tweet from SonyPIX Twitter. Retrieved July 27, 2019