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Super Mario Bros.: The Movie - What We Know So Far

Producing a video game movie that does well with both critics and audiences is no easy feat. In fact, Hollywood studios haven't quite figured out how to crack that code consistently. Sure, there's the "Sonic the Hedgehog" movie, which grossed $319 million at the box office (per Box Office Mojo) and enjoyed a mixed-but-leaning-positive 63% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. But, as a whole, video game movies have just not translated well to the big screen as studios would probably like them to.

This logic applies to the "Mario" video game franchise as well. Disney tried their hand at making a movie back in 1993, with "Super Mario Bros." It starred Bob Hoskins as main protagonist Mario and John Leguizamo as his brother Luigi. It was a critical and financial failure at the time, though some consider its reputation unfair and it has gained a significant cult following since releasing (via Den of Geek). Regardless, Nintendo is trying again to make a "Mario" movie happen yet again, this time in animated form and from Illumination Studios, titled "Super Mario Bros.: The Movie."

Here's what we know so far about the upcoming "Super Mario Bros.: The Movie."

When will Super Mario Bros.: The Movie release?

Announced at the Nintendo Direct event and confirmed on the official Nintendo of America Twitter account, "Super Mario Bros.: The Movie" will release in North America on December 21, 2022. There's currently no information on when it will be out in other markets, but conventional wisdom says that it'll arrive earlier in other, bigger marketable countries and later in others. Either way, this will put the release date fairly close to the big holiday season in North America, and with families as the target audience, it seems like a solid move for Universal and Illumination.

According to The Numbers, this release date puts "Super Mario Bros.: The Movie" as the only film getting released on that particular day, at least for now. However, it also comes the week after both "Avatar 2" and "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" release in theaters. Both of these films will prove stiff competition, though again, "Mario" as a property is traditionally aimed at kids and families. Perhaps audiences will be looking for a reprieve from big blockbuster affairs, though only time will tell if that proves to be the case.

Who is in the cast for Super Mario Bros.: The Movie?

Universal and Illumination are sparing no expense when it comes to casting "Super Mario Bros.: The Movie," according to a Nintendo of America Twitter post. Voicing the protagonist, Mario, will be none other than Starlord himself, Chris Pratt. Joining him as his brother Luigi is Charlie Day. Anya Taylor-Joy will voice the female lead Princess Peach, who will presumably be Mario's love interest. Filling out the rest of the main cast is Jack Black as antagonist Bowser.

As for what are presumably supporting roles, Keegan-Michael Key will portray Toad, Seth Rogen will step in as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen will do the voice for Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson will be Kamek, and finally, Sebastian Maniscalco will be Spike. The announcement also notes that Charles Martinet, who has voiced Mario and other notable characters in the video games since the '90s, will have "surprise cameos." As noted, this is an incredibly stacked cast of A-listers, and it'll be interesting to see if that translates to a quality finished product or yet another video game-inspired bomb.

What is the plot for Super Mario Bros.: The Movie?

It's still too soon to expect concrete plot news for "Super Mario Bros.: The Movie," though one can make certain guesses based on the long and varied history of the video game franchise that will inspire it. Most of the main games in the "Mario" series involve Mario and/or his brother Luigi going on a quest to rescue Princess Peach from the clutches of the evil Bowser. Depending on which era of "Mario" a fan plays, this will involve settings like castles and spooky dungeons.

And while it's likely that "Super Mario Bros.: The Movie" will draw influence from that particular narrative, there's no guarantee that it will be the exact plot of the movie. The whole "damsel in distress" trope has been played out countless times in movies of old, and it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that a company like Illumination would try and subvert that trope in some way. Regardless, fans will have to wait as we approach the 2022 release date for more information regarding the animated film's plot.