Over recent years Nintendo's been making a major effort to expand its commercial efforts - there's been merchandise and various tie-ins, most notably plans for a Universal Studios Japan attraction. That deal with Universal seems to have led to further opportunities, with The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reporting that a deal is close for a Super Mario Bros. animated movie.

It's important to note that a deal is not yet done, and both Nintendo and Universal have declined to comment. With that in mind, here's the general detail from the WSJ report.

The talks are around an animated movie by Illumination, which has produced the likes of “Despicable Me,” “Minions” and “The Secret Life of Pets". Illumination produces its movies for distribution via Comcast-owned Universal, a potential relationship no doubt helped by the aforementioned Theme Park deals. The final agreement is yet to be signed, with Nintendo reportedly eager to ensure it maintains a degree of control - Shigeru Miyamoto would likely be a producer. The project is said to be in the "early stages of development", so a release could be a number of years away yet.

We've seen reports along these lines before, but there certainly seem to be reasonable odds of this actually happening; it'll be fascinating to see if the deal gets over the line.

Would you be excited to see an animated Mario Bros. movie?

[via wsj.com]