Untitled Mario film
On January 31, 2018 during a financial briefing, Nintendo announced that Illumination would be producing an animated Mario film, co-produced by Chris Meledandri and Shigeru Miyamoto. The title is currently unknown, but the film is scheduled for theatrical release on December 21, 2022 in North America and on an unspecified day in the holiday season of 2022 in the rest of the world. It is the third theatrical film based on the Mario series, following Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (1986) and Super Mario Bros. (1993).
Several days after the deal was made, Miyamoto explained why Illumination was chosen for the project over other animation companies, saying he has been interested in producing an animated film for quite some time, and contrary to popular belief, making a movie and making a game are completely different procedures. Miyamoto wanted someone with experience in the film industry to co-produce the film, and after talking with numerous directors and producers, he was introduced to Illumination through Universal Parks & Resorts, with whom Nintendo was making a theme park. Miyamoto also stated that when he begun talks with Meledandri, the latter read numerous interviews about him and felt that they had a similar approach in creation. Miyamoto describes Meledandri as having experience in the field of animation beyond Illumination, being executive producer of Ice Age and other animated projects for 20th Century Fox, as well as Meledandri being "extremely cost-conscious and time-conscious in his quest to make successful movies." Miyamoto also mentioned that Nintendo and Illumination have mutually agreed to call the deal off if neither company could think of an interesting premise, but also noted that the screenplay has been hashed out a number of times and talks are in progression, hoping to provide more information once the schedule has been ironed out.
On November 6, 2018, Meledandri said that he was glad the 1993 film was not well-received, citing the primary reason being that the producers did not involve Nintendo, whereas Illumination is "embracing" Miyamoto and keeping him "front and center" in the film's creation. He said that Illumination's Mario film is in "priority development," and is hoping to release the film by 2022. Meledandri also noted that developing a Mario film is "an ambitious task", citing the challenge of adding depth to Mario that would simultaneously compromise generations of fans and feel organic to his iconography along with supporting a three-act structure.
Before details on the cast list were formally announced, actor Sebastian Maniscalco offhandedly mentioned in a YouTube podcast uploaded on August 5, 2021 that he would be playing "Spike, [the brothers'] boss," in the movie.
The September 23, 2021 Nintendo Direct presentation featured a message from Shigeru Miyamoto announcing the movie as being scheduled for the 2022 holiday season and the cast list. On the same day, the press release also announced that Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic will be directing, while Matthew Fogel will be writing the screenplay.