Nintendo boss Shigeru Miyamoto talked up the Mario Movie ahead of its Japan premiere, revealing the movie exceeded expectations – partly due to negative western reviews.
The Mario Movie has already topped $700 million globally in sales and is on track to hit $1 billion, especially with the Japan premiere finally here. Miyamoto noted it went beyond all expectations.
“So I had high expectations that the film would do well, but when it finally premiered, I was surprised to find that it exceeded my expectations,” Miyamoto said in a roundtable interview. “It’s not easy to make it this far unless you have some kind of luck helping you.”
He added, “Moreover, overseas critics gave the film quite low marks. I think that was part of the reason for the buzz.” The storied creator also has hopes the film can change how movie-goers define film.
“I would be happy if movie-goers said that it changed the definition of cinema,” Miyamoto said. “That’s how lucky I was.”
Miyamoto also revealed that the film originally had two separate scripts, one for the western release and one for the Japanese release.
“When we were making this film, I told them that I wanted to make the script in Japanese from the beginning. Even if I were shown the English script, I would not understand the detailed nuances.
“I often say that games should be ‘true stories that seem false.’ I think that even though the story is completely false, there is something real about it that makes it seem true. It is the same with dramas. I am disappointed when I see the most important part, ‘the part that looks real,’ is poorly made.”
Coming from this, Miyamoto revealed he’s become a big fan of Japanese drama shows (like yours truly), and this has spilled over to his career at Nintendo.
“In my company, I have the title of ‘NHK morning drama critic’,” Miyamoto said with a laugh. “I check the morning dramas every day and make various criticisms. I would either praise them highly or say that they were not good enough. It got louder and louder, and my wife would say, ‘Don’t tell me, just talk about it somewhere else’.”
“After repeating such things for 10 or 20 years, I became interested in creating dramas,” the Mario creator added.
“The morning dramas that I find interesting have lively dialogue. I also find directors who emphasize improvisation more interesting,” Miyamoto said. “The director of photography or the director goes into the scene and says, ‘OK,’ and there are many times when I wonder how the director could say ‘OK’ to this line.
“I often wondered how the director could have given the OK to that line. I think such lively conversations are important in the making of a drama.”
Now I’m very curious what Miyamoto’s current favorite morning drama is – a recent favorite of mine is Story of My Family!!! (俺の家の話), which is now streaming on Netflix.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is airing in theaters right now. In case you missed it – find our thorough and spoiler-free review on the movie here.