The Making Of Super Mario Movie

The tale of a legendary disaster

Fareeha Arshad
6 min readSep 11, 2022


Photo by Justice Thompson on Unsplash

Nintendo’s Super Mario was every 90s kid’s solace. It was mine too. Be it break-up with friends, bad marks, or scolding from parents — nothing could stop me from game switching between 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. every single day for four years straight.

The infamous game was a part of almost every household back in the 90s. Everybody — young or adult was fascinated by Nintendo video games, especially Mario. Even today, their mascot hasn’t lost its influence.

With such a promising video-game character, there was a Super Mario Bros. movie too. The movie was expected to be a huge success. Strangely, the 1993 movie was hardly close to a success of any kind. The movie made hardly $ 21 million on a $ 48 million budget!

Let’s sneak a peek into what actually happened and why it turned out that way.

Finding The Perfect Film Production Company

Image Credits: Allstar/Cinetext/Allied Filmmakers

It all started with winning the rights to the movie from Nintendo.

There was a huge outcry in the film industry over winning the rights from Nintendo — each trying to woo the company by bidding millions of dollars. Being a multimillion company itself, Nintendo was not interested in monetary benefits alone. Instead, they wanted a film production company which would equally respect the character and would do justice to the movie.

In 1990, the company entrusted the rights to the movie to a small independent studio called Lightmotive — which created adult dramas. The motive behind the deal was two-fold. One, the offer made by the producers gave Nintendo complete control over the merchandising rights that would follow the movie. Two, they gave Nintendo creative control in the movie. These rights were something that Nintendo couldn’t refuse and went ahead with the deal.

Finding The Perfect Production Team

After sealing the deal, Lighthouse started looking for an appropriate creative team, crew members and actors. One of their first choice as directors was…