Super Mario Bros.
Super Mario Bros (1993) theatrical poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Written by
Narrated byDan Castellaneta
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyDean Semler
Edited byMark Goldblatt
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution[1]
Release date
  • May 28, 1993 (1993-05-28)
Running time
104 minutes[2]
CountryUnited States
Budget$48 million[3]
Box office$20.9 million[3]

Super Mario Bros. is a 1993 American science fantasy adventure film[4] loosely based on the Japanese video game series of the same name created by Shigeru Miyamoto and Nintendo. Distributed by Walt Disney Studios through Hollywood Pictures, the film was directed by Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, written by Parker Bennett, Terry Runté and Ed Solomon, and stars Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, Samantha Mathis, Fisher Stevens, Fiona Shaw and Richard Edson. Its story follows the titular Mario brothers as they find a parallel universe ruled by the ruthless dictator King Koopa, who seeks to merge the two dimensions together so that he can rule both worlds, leaving it up to Mario and Luigi to join forces with Princess Daisy, the daughter of the world's displaced King, to stop Koopa.

Super Mario Bros. was shot in both New York City and North Carolina on a budget of $48 million. The film was released on May 28, 1993, in the United States and grossed $20.9 million. It has a 15% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, which called it "too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty".[5] Super Mario Bros. was released on Blu-ray in the United Kingdom in 2014.[6]

Plot[edit | edit source]

Sixty-five million years ago, a meteorite crashes into the Earth, killing the dinosaurs and causing the universe to split into two parallel dimensions. The surviving dinosaurs cross over into this new dimension and evolve into a humanoid race.

In the present, Italian American plumbers Mario and Luigi live in Brooklyn, New York, running their own plumbing business. They are currently being driven out of business by the mafia-like Scapelli Construction Company led by Anthony Scapelli. Later, Luigi falls in love with an orphaned NYU student named Daisy, who is digging under the Brooklyn Bridge for dinosaur bones. After a date, Daisy takes Luigi back to the bridge only to witness two of Scapelli's men sabotaging it by leaving the water pipes open. Unable to fix the flooding, Luigi and Daisy rush back to his apartment where they inform Mario about the incident. The trio returns to the flooding where the Mario Bros. manage to fix it but are knocked unconscious by Iggy and Spike, who proceed to capture Daisy.

Moments later, Mario and Luigi awaken and head deeper into the caves following Daisy's screams and discover an interdimensional portal allowing the Mario Bros. to follow Daisy. It turns out that Iggy and Spike are henchmen (and cousins) of the other world's germophobic and obsessive–compulsive dictator, King Koopa, who descended from the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Iggy and Spike realize they didn't bring Daisy's rock, a meteorite fragment which Koopa is trying to get in order to merge his world with the human world. It is then revealed that Daisy is the long-lost Princess of the other dimension. When Koopa overthrew Daisy's father (and devolved him into fungus), her mother took her to Brooklyn using the interdimensional portal. The portal was then closed, with Daisy's mother killed in the process, but Scapelli's men inadvertently reopened the portal when they blasted the cave. Upon hearing this, Koopa sends Spike and Iggy to find both Daisy and the rock to merge the dimensions and make him dictator of both worlds. However, after Koopa subjects them to one of his experiments to make them more intelligent, Spike and Iggy realize Koopa's evil intentions and side with the Mario Bros. in the desert. Daisy is taken to Koopa-Tower, where she meets a young Yoshi. Koopa informs Daisy that she descended from the dinosaurs, believing only Daisy can merge the worlds because of her royal heritage. Eventually, the Mario Bros. rescue Daisy with the help of Toad, a good-natured guitarist who was punished by Koopa for performing music that protests his reign (for which he is devolved into a Goomba).

Eventually, the two worlds merge and Koopa devolves Scapelli into a chimpanzee before going after Mario, but Luigi and Daisy manage to remove the fragment from the meteorite and the worlds separate again. In Dinohattan, Mario confronts Koopa and eventually defeats him when he and Luigi fire their devolution guns at Koopa and blast him with a Bob-omb. Koopa, now transformed into a ferocious, semi-humanoid Tyrannosaurus attempts to kill the Mario Bros., but they destroy him once and for all by transforming him into an actual T. rex, which is too intense for him to live through and instead turns him into primeval slime. With Daisy's father restored after Koopa's defeat, he reclaims control over the kingdom. The citizens celebrate and immediately destroy anything under Koopa's influence. Luigi professes his love for Daisy and wants her to come to Brooklyn with him, but Daisy cannot come until the damage caused by Koopa is repaired and thus, she wants to spend more time with her father. Heartbroken, Luigi kisses Daisy goodbye as he and Mario return home to Brooklyn, with Daisy watching them leave. Three weeks later, the Mario Bros. are getting ready for dinner when their story comes on the news and the anchorman says they should be called the "Super Mario Bros." Daisy then arrives and asks the Mario Bros. to help her and says, "You're never gonna believe this!"

In a post-credits scene, two Japanese business executives propose making a video game based on Iggy and Spike, who decide on the title The Super Koopa Cousins.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

Development[edit | edit source]

The suggestion for a film based on the Super Mario Bros. was first put forward by Roland Joffé during a script meeting at his production company Lightmotive. Joffé met the Nintendo of America president and Hiroshi Yamauchi's son-in law Minoru Arakawa. He presented Arakawa with an initial draft of the script. One month after their meeting, Joffé went to Nintendo's corporate headquarters in Kyoto spending 10 days waiting to meet Hiroshi Yamauchi. After some time, Joffé received a phone call summoning him to Yamauchi's office. He pitched to Yamauchi the storyline which led to Nintendo receiving interest in the project. When Joffé was questioned about Nintendo having to sell the rights to a small studio company instead of a major company, he believed that Nintendo would have more control over the film.[7] Joffé left with a $2 million contract giving the temporary control of the character of Mario over to Joffé.[8]

Four drafts of the script were made. The first draft written by Jim Jennewein and Tom S. Parker focused on a comedic take on fairy tale themes on a story focusing on Mario and Luigi attempting to rescue a princess named Hildy from Koopa.[9]

Joffé visited Harold Ramis to offer him the job of being director. Ramis took up the meeting as he was a fan of the Super Mario Bros. game but declined the offer.[10] Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were hired to direct based on their work on the television series Max Headroom.[8]

Casting[edit | edit source]

After securing the rights to the film, Lightmotive went to work finding the casting for the characters. Danny DeVito was approached to play Mario and direct the film but wanted to read the script before signing.[11] Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Keaton were both approached to play the part of King Koopa. All three actors decided not to accept the offers. Lightmotive managed to secure Tom Hanks for the role of Mario with some film executives believing that Hanks was worth more than the studio could afford.[12] Hanks was later dismissed and replaced with Bob Hoskins, who was believed to be a more profitable actor.[8]

Release[edit | edit source]

Critical reaction[edit | edit source]

As of 5 March  2018 (2018 -03-05), review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 15% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 34 reviews with an average rating of 3.7/10. The site's consensus states: "Despite flashy sets and special effects, Super Mario Bros. is too light on story and substance to be anything more than a novelty."[5]

Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film two thumbs down on the television program Siskel & Ebert At the Movies,[13] and the film was on their list for one of the worst films of 1993.[14] Michael Wilmington of the Los Angeles Times disapproved of the film's script.[15] Hal Hinson of the Washington Post praised the film for its spirit and later went on to say, "In short, it's a blast."[16] Janet Maslin of The New York Times said that the film "doesn't have the jaunty hop-and-zap spirit of the Nintendo video game from which it takes – ahem – its inspiration."[17]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

In the Nintendo Power 20th anniversary retrospective issue, as they chronicled the games and other related releases over the magazine's life span, the film's release was listed. The issue stated that despite the film's poor quality, the fact that it was made shows how much the game series had impacted popular culture.[18]

Hoskins spoke critically of Super Mario Bros., saying that it was "the worst thing I ever did" and that "the whole experience was a nightmare" in a 2007 interview with The Guardian.[19] In another interview with The Guardian, Hoskins was asked, "What is the worst job you've done?", "What has been your biggest disappointment?", and "If you could edit your past, what would you change?" His answer to all three was Super Mario Bros.[20]

Leguizamo also admitted in 2007 that he, too, disliked his role as Luigi in the film, and expressed dissatisfaction with the film's direction. He said in his biography that perhaps the reason why the film turned out the way it did was that the studio wanted a more family friendly film while the directors wanted it to be more adult-like. He also said that both he and Hoskins did not enjoy working on the film, frequently getting drunk to go through it, knowing that it would turn out bad.[21]

Hopper was also disparaging of the production, "It was a nightmare, very honestly, that movie. It was a husband and wife directing team who were both control freaks and wouldn't talk before they made decisions. Anyway, I was supposed to go down there for five weeks, and I was there for 17. It was so over budget."[22]

Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario's creator, stated, "[In] the end, it was a very fun project that they put a lot of effort into," but also said, "The one thing that I still have some regrets about is that the movie may have tried to get a little too close to what the Mario Bros. video games were. And in that sense, it became a movie that was about a video game, rather than being an entertaining movie in and of itself."[23] Nintendo has not produced any more live-action theatrical films based from their video game franchises. Since then, a Metroid film was put into development but plans eventually fell through.[24] A live action/CGI hybrid Pokémon film is also in development at Legendary Pictures, set to be released by Universal Pictures.[25]

Co-director Rocky Morton reflected on the movie in 2016 as a "harrowing" experience. He explained that he and Annabel Jenkel, along with the rest of the cast, agreed to make the movie based on the script originally written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, which focused on Mario and Luigi's complicated but loving family dynamic that they had developed in the absence of their parents. A few weeks before shooting was to begin, the studio financing the film demanded significant rewrites to make the film more childlike and comedic. The final result, according to Morton, was a script that was not at all like the script that he, Jenkel, and the cast had signed on to film, and that the tone of the new script was not at all compatible with the sets, which had already been built. Morton also reflected that he felt very uneasy being put in the position of having to defend the new script. In addition, working with Dennis Hopper was "really, really hard. Really hard. I don’t think [Dennis Hopper] had a clue what was going on." Despite describing the overall experience as humiliating,[26] Morton is proud of the film considering the chaos created as a result of the late and unexpected script rewrites.[27]

In 2013, Steven Applebaum and Ryan Hoss teamed with one of the original film's writers to create a Webcomic sequel to the film, published to the internet the same year. The comic sees Mario and Luigi returning to Dinohattan with Daisy to tend to her revived father, only to find out that Wart is planning to overthrow the city.[28][29]

Home media[edit | edit source]

The film was first released on Blu-ray by independent distributor Second Sight Films in the United Kingdom on November 3, 2014.[30][31][32] The film was re-released on Blu-ray in February 2017.[33]

Soundtrack[edit | edit source]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[34]
Entertainment WeeklyD[35]

The soundtrack, released on May 10, 1993 by Capitol Records, featured two songs from Roxette: "Almost Unreal" which was released as a single, and "2 Cinnamon Street" which is an alternate version of the song "Cinnamon Street" from Roxette's album "Tourism". The music video for "Almost Unreal" was inspired by the film, featuring scenes from the film and a de-evolution theme. "Almost Unreal" was originally written for the film Hocus Pocus but was never used and ended up attached to the Mario film instead. The change angered Roxette co-founder Per Gessle.[36]

The film's score was composed by Alan Silvestri. It has not been officially released, though bootleg copies do exist.

George Clinton (who covered the Was (Not Was) song - "Walk The Dinosaur") released a single in 1993 that contained various other versions of the same song, including a Club Remix, a "Funky Goomba" Remix, a "Goomba Dub Mix" and an Instrumental version.

Track listing
No.TitleWriter(s)Performed byLength
1."Almost Unreal"Per GessleRoxette3:59
2."Love Is the Drug" (Originally performed by Roxy Music)Bryan Ferry, Andy MackayDivinyls4:35
3."Walk the Dinosaur" (Originally performed by Was (Not Was))Randy Jacobs, David Was, Don WasGeorge Clinton & The Goombas4:06
4."I Would Stop the World"Mick Leeson, Peter ValeCharles & Eddie4:24
5."I Want You"Donnie WahlbergMarky Mark and the Funky Bunch6:11
6."Where Are You Going?" Extreme4:34
7."Speed of Light"Joe SatrianiJoe Satriani5:10
8."Breakpoint"Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, Nick MenzaMegadeth3:29
9."Tie Your Mother Down"Brian MayQueen3:46
10."Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)"Herbie Hancock, Rahsaan Kelly, Mel Simpson, Geoff WilkinsonUs3 Featuring Rahsaan & Gerrard Prescencer4:29
11."Don't Slip Away [ * ]"Tracie Spencer, Narada Michael Walden, Sylvester JacksonTracie Spencer5:19
12."2 Cinnamon Street [ * ]" Roxette5:06
Total length:55:16

* These tracks were not included in the U.S. and Canada releases, only on the international versions of the album.[37]

Note: "2 Cinnamon Street" (sung by Marie Fredriksson) is an alternative version of "Cinnamon Street" sung by Per Gessle on Roxette's 1992 album "Tourism".[38]

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Future Mario film[edit | edit source]

On November 14, 2017, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment announced they will release a computer-animated Mario film.[39] On January 31, 2018, Nintendo of America announced their partnership with Illumination, stating that the film will be co-produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri.[40]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Super Mario Bros. (1993)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved February 18, 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "SUPER MARIO BROS. (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. June 9, 1993. Retrieved April 26, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Super Mario Bros". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved August 13, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  7. "Why the Super Mario Movie Sucked". Wired. April 23, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Reeves, Ben (October 10, 2011). "Mario's Film Folly: The True Story Behind Hollywood's Biggest Gaming Blunder". Gameinformer.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  11. "Mario: The Movie". The Times-News: p. 13. January 11, 1991.,1876640&dq=super+mario+bros+film+production&hl=en. 
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  15. Wilmington, Michael (May 29, 1993). "Movie Review: No Offense Nintendo: Super Mario Bros. Jump to Big Screen in Feeble Extravaganza". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
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  17. Maslin, Janet (May 29, 1993). "Movie Review - Super Mario Bros.". The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  18. "20 Years of Nintendo Power"
  19. Hattenstone, Simon (August 3, 2007). "The Method? Living it out? Cobblers!". The Guardian (London). Retrieved May 24, 2010. 
  20. Greenstreet, Rosanna (June 18, 2011). "Q&A: Bob Hoskins". The Guardian (London). Retrieved June 24, 2011. 
  21. "John Leguizamo Reveals Horrors of Playing Luigi in the movie Super Mario Bros - Armchair Arcade". Retrieved August 24, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  23. "MIYAMOTO: THE INTERVIEW". Edge Magazine. November 27, 2007. Archived from the original on July 28, 2015. Retrieved August 9, 2010. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  27. Palmer, Poppy-Jay. "SUPER MARIO BROS.'S ROCKY MORTON: 'IT WAS A HARROWING EXPERIENCE'". Retrieved June 12, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  33. Casey. "The Super Mario Bros. Movie To Be Released On Blu-Ray Along With Limited Edition Steelbook". Retrieved December 29, 2016.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  35. Browne, David (June 18, 1993). "Review of the Soundtracks for Sliver, Poetic Justice, What's Love Got To Do With It, Posse, Last Action Hero, Made in America and Super Mario Bros.". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 22, 2013. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. liner notes to Roxette album, Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus!
  37. "Various – Super Mario Bros. (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". Retrieved August 20, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. Information taken from:, section: Boogleg.
  39. "Super Mario Movie in the Works". Retrieved November 14, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. "Nintendo and Illumination are partnering on a movie starring Mario, co-produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri!". Twitter. Retrieved February 1, 2018.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links[edit | edit source]

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