Nintendo’s Live-Action ‘Zelda’ Movie Has Entered Production

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A Zelda movie would be the biggest video game-Hollywood crossover one could hope for, and Nintendo waited over 30 years to get things just right.

Photo: Bing AI (Link is an intellectual property of Nintendo)

Published on Nov 8, 2023

Nintendo’s “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” blew past expectations to become one of the biggest hits of the year — ending a 30-year hot streak of terrible video game films. After decades of acclaimed video games, Nintendo’s attempt at becoming a cross-platform powerhouse generated insurmountable attention. Capitalizing on the momentum, Nintendo has already announced its plans for another live-action adaptation of one of its premiere video game franchises: The Legend of Zelda.

Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto took to X (formerly Twitter) to announce the forthcoming “The Legend of Zelda” live-action adaptation, a project he has been working on for “many years now.” The movie will be produced by Wes Ball, best known for the “Maze Runner” trilogy and the upcoming “Kingdom of the Planets of the Apes.” Much like the Mario movie, Miyamoto will serve as a producer, this time joined by Marvel Studios founder Avi Arad.

As the post confirmed, the movie will “take some time until completion,” although Miyamoto states that Nintendo is already “heavily involved in the production.” An accompanying press release from Nintendo says that it will be co-financed by Nintendo and Sony Pictures, with Nintendo putting up over 50 percent of the bill.

“By producing visual contents of Nintendo IP by itself, Nintendo is creating new opportunities to have people from around the world to access the world of entertainment which Nintendo has built, through different means apart from its dedicated game consoles,” the company said.

This news comes as a respite for fans who lost hope over the live-action Zelda series that was being produced for Netflix. However, the announcement has a more significant implication: one that more-or-less confirms the plans for a “Nintendo Cinematic Universe.”

Nintendo went into a bubble after the disastrous reception of its “Super Mario Bros.” film in 1993, panic-stricken in damaging the legacy of some of the world’s greatest video game franchises. “We were fearful of all the failure of past IP adaptations, where there’s a license and a distance between the original creators and the creators of the films,” Miyamoto told Variety. With another attempt at a live-action film 30 years later, the studio understood that there are differences between creating a movie versus creating a game — paving the way for two otherwise divorced industries.

“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” validated Nintendo’s hopes of building a silver-screen empire — and Hollywood responded in accordance. As the most influential gaming company, Nintendo’s marquee characters paved the way for a franchise as big as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The post-credits scene of the Mario film has already hinted at a potential sequel, and the Zelda announcement implies that several other projects might already be under production.