Shigeru Miyamoto Says The Mario Movie Exceeded His Expectations | VGC

Ahead of its Japanese release this week, Nintendo’s chief designer, Shigeru Miyamoto, says the Super Mario Bros. movie has exceeded even his high expectations.

Ever since its wide release globally earlier this month, the Illumination movie has been a huge success at the box office. According to recent reports, its third weekend was Universal’s highest weekend ever in the US, and it’s on pace to generate more than $1 billion globally.

Speaking to the Japanese press ahead of the movie’s debut in Nintendo’s home country, Mario creator Miyamoto discussed its performance and critical reception, which he admitted was mixed.

“I had a level of expectation that this film would also do well [like the Super Nintendo World theme park]But I was very surprised that when it finally came out it went beyond what I could have imagined,” he said, translated by VGC contributor Robert Sefazon.

“You need luck for a film to achieve this level of success,” he added. “While many foreign critics rated the movie relatively low, I think that also contributed to the movie’s notoriety and buzz.

“I would be happy if the audience can say that this film has changed the definition of what a film is. It shows how lucky we were.”

Earlier in the press junket, Miyamoto revealed that the Japanese version of the Mario Bros. movie was not a direct translation of the US version. Instead, Nintendo handled the Japanese script independently.

According to Miyamoto, this was to make the film more appealing to Nintendo’s home audience, which would be “awkward” compared to the US version made by Illumination.

“Since we are making this movie in both Japan and the United States, we thought we should make a Japanese version as well,” the creative partner told the assembled press.

“I often say that in games, we should value stories that are ‘like real stories, even if they aren’t.’ They are completely fictional, but I think they seem almost real because they have some element of reality. This is also true for drama. When I see that the most important part, which makes it look ‘like a real story’, is carelessly done, I feel disappointed.

“So when we decided to make this film, we discussed creating a uniquely Japanese script from the beginning. Even if we are shown the English script, it will be difficult to understand the subtle nuances.”

Shigeru Miyamoto says the Mario movie has exceeded his expectations
Image credit: Nintendo Dream Web

Miyamoto revealed that over the past decade, he has developed an interest in TV morning drama shows in Japan and developed a reputation internally for criticizing them.

“At Nintendo, I have a joke title of ‘NHK Morning Drama Critic,'” he said, referring to Japan’s national broadcasting company. “I check the morning plays every day and provide various commentary. Sometimes I’ll praise them for being wonderful, and other times I’ll point out their flaws.

“Gradually, I’ve become more outspoken, and even my wife has told me, ‘I don’t want to hear that, go talk about it somewhere else.’ [laughs] Over the past 10 or 20 years, I have developed an interest in creating plays.

“I think morning dramas often have lively dialogue. Directors who emphasize ad-libs tend to create more engaging content overall. When a director or cinematographer is on set and says, ‘Okay, that’s a wrap!’ I often think, ‘I can’t believe they approved this line.’ I realized that lively conversation is crucial to creating drama.

He added: “For this Japanese version, we wanted to create a script that wasn’t clumsy compared to Chris. [the director] version, so we were involved in various ways as far as voice recording. Basically, for the last decade or so, I have been very conscious of making plays in my daily life.”