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Thirty Years Of The Live-Action Super Mario Bros. Movie

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With people all excited about the recent Super Mario Bros. film released by Illumination and Universal, many people seem to remember a long-forgotten secret. The fact that it wasn’t the first time the Mario Brothers has their own movie. In fact it was thirty years ago, all the way back in 1993. And do you want to know the best part? It was developed under Disney.

The Super Mario Bros. was a Live-Action adaptation of the popular Nintendo franchise of the same name. It starred Bob Hoskins as the Italian plumber Mario and John Leguizamo as the younger brother Luigi.



The story revolved around Princess Daisy (Played by: Samantha Mathis) as she is kidnapped by the evil President Koopa (Played by: Dennis Hopper). President Koopa wishes to merge his world (a world where dinosaurs evolved into humans) and merge it with our world and conquer the mammal humans. 

The film was developed under Lightmotive in collaboration with Hollywood Pictures, a now-defunct branch of the Walt Disney Company. It was directed by the then husband and wife duo Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel (The pair had previously been responsible for the creation of Max Headroom).



Interestingly enough, the original plans for the film would have taken a lot of fantasy elements from the video games, with The Princes Bride being cited as an inspiration. However the directing duo were against that and demanded rewrites that eventually morphed the film into a diet version of Blade Runner mixed with Rock & Rule. This decision to go in this far of a direction would ultimately be the film’s downfall.

The film was released on May 28th, 1993, and earned only $38.9 Million against a $48 Million budget. The film also revived mixed to negative reviews from both critics and audiences, saying that it barely resembled the world millions of Nintendo fans were familiar with.



Over the years, the film has been labeled as one of the worst video game movies of all time, sitting upon a pedestal alongside other misfires like Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Double Dragon and Doom

In a 2007 interview, Bob Hoskins discussed his experience working on the film:

The worst thing I ever did? Super Mario Bros. It was a f***in’ nightmare. The whole experience was a nightmare. It had a husband and wife team directing, whose arrogance had been mistaken for talent. After so many weeks, their own agent told them to get off the set! F***in’ nightmare. F***in’ idiots.

The following year in 2008, actor Dennis Hopper shared a story while being interviewed by Conan O’ Brian.

My six-year-old son at the time, he’s now 18, he said, ‘Dad I think you’re probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.?’ And I said, ‘Well Henry, I did that so you could have shoes,’ and he said, ‘Dad, I don’t need shoes that badly.’



Since then, despite the film’s poor reputation, it has gained a cult following in a “so bad it’s entertaining” kind of way. Multiple memes were born from the film as well, with the most well-known being the joke that Mario and Luigi’s family surname is “Mario”.

What do you think? Is the Live-Action Super Mario Bros. an awful experience, or is it a guilty pleasure? Let us know your history with this film and if you had any fond memories.

Source: Matt McMuscles


Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.



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