Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto talks about The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s success


One of the biggest movies to hit theatres this year has no doubt been The Super Mario Bros. Movie. The animated film based on Nintendo’s video game series had been one of the most hyped of 2023, but like most movies based on a video game franchise, it hasn’t fared well with the critics…

Nonetheless, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has turned out to be a huge box office success, having made more than $870 million US dollars worldwide as was recently reported on Variety. The fact it made more than $58 million in its third weekend is also impressive, an actually a record for an animated movie.

But this is an animated movie based on a video game, and it also happens to be the top-grossing video game movie of all time now, having handsomely surpassed the likes of Warcraft (which made $439 million at the box office) and Rampage (which grossed a total of $428 million) already.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie time in theatres is not over yet, though, meaning it could still become the first video game movie to make more than $1 billion US dollars at the box office, especially taking into account that The Super Mario Bros. Movie is yet to open in Japan.

This is something that Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto (the man behind the Mario games) talked about in a recent interview with the Japanese press, highlighting the movie’s success.

“I did have a level of expectations that this movie would also do well [like the Super Nintendo World theme park], but I was very surprised that it went beyond what I could have imagined when it finally came out”, said in the interview.

Nonetheless, Miyamoto added that it takes “luck to achieve this level of success for a film”.

It’s clear, though, that the fact that Miyamoto was co-producer for the film and that Nintendo was actively involved in its development (as with the Super Nintendo World theme park Miyamoto referred to) might have been key to its success. Also, unlike the earlier Super Mario Bros. movie, this is an animated movie instead of a live action film. Like the 1993 movie, though, the 2023 film has also gotten poor reviews from the critics.

“While many foreign critics have given the movie relatively low ratings, I think that also contributed to the movie’s notoriety and buzz”, said Miyamoto in the interview.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie poor critical reception was to be expected taking into account that movies based on video games typically get bad reviews, although the difference this time surely is the audience score. While the 1993 movie was dislike by both critics and audiences, the 2023 Super Mario Bros. Movie has an audience score of 96 %, meaning the public has really taken to Nintendo’s family-friendly movie.

As stated earlier, the movie has made more than $870 million US dollars and is likely on its way to surpass the $1 billion mark, as its yet to open in Super Mario’s home country of Japan.

Speaking of the Japanese version of the Super Mario Bros. Movie, Miyamoto said that “we thought we should make a Japanese version as well”, as the movie was made both in the US and Japan. The US companies behind it are Illumination and Universal, while the film was directed by Michael Christopher Jelenic.

“For this Japanese version, we wanted to create a script that wouldn’t be awkward when compared to Chris’s [the director] version, so we were involved in various ways up until the voice recording”, said Miyamoto, making it clear Nintendo will be releasing a version of the movie tailored for Japanese audiences this spring.

What’s clear, though, is that the Super Mario Bros. Movie has likely surpassed not only Miyamoto’s expectations but everyone’s, and already is one of the biggest movies of the year, no doubt.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal Pictures / Nintendo)