The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a bona fide hit. In its first five days in theaters, the new animated film brought in over $375 million globally. And despite a lot of negative and meh reviews from critics, it’s expected to cross a billion dollars at the box office soon. In fact, according to Shigeru Miyamoto—Mario’s dad—those poor reviews actually helped the film become so successful.
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Released on April 5, The Super Mario Bros. Movie had an endless amount of hype and marketing ahead of it as people prepared for the first Mario film in nearly 30 years. (The last one was the disastrous and awful live-action film from 1993. Remember that thing?) Once it hit screens earlier this month, the new CG-animated Mario film—created by Minions makers Illumination Studios—fans flooded theaters to see it. While many fans enjoyed the film, the critical reception has been less than great. Our own Carolyn Petit called it a “transparently hollow commercial product that feels like it was designed in a lab” and she wasn’t alone. Other reviews were also negative. But Miyamoto says that actually helped the film grow bigger.
Ahead of the film’s release in Japan, Miyamoto spoke to the press in the country about the film’s debut, its box office success around the globe, and negative reviews from critics. VGC translated his answers and reported that he was surprised by just how successful the film had been.
“I did have a level of expectations that this movie would also do well,” said Miyamoto. “But I was very surprised that it went beyond what I could have imagined when it finally came out.”
Miyamoto attributed some of the film’s box office success to luck, but also shouted out negative reviews, too.
“You need some luck to achieve this level of success for a film,” explained Miyamoto. “While many foreign critics have given the movie relatively low ratings, I think that also contributed to the movie’s notoriety and buzz.”
Miyamoto says he has become a bit of TV critic
Interestingly, Miyamoto says he’s become a bit of a TV critic himself over the last decade. He told the press that he watches a lot of TV morning drama shows in Japan, and has apparently developed a reputation at Nintendo as a morning show critic.
“At Nintendo, I have the joke title of ‘NHK Morning Drama Critic’,” Miyamoto admitted. “I check morning dramas every day and provide various critiques. Sometimes I’ll praise them as being fantastic, and other times I’ll point out their shortcomings.”
According to the famed game designer, his wife has grown tired of his critiques, telling him that she doesn’t “want to hear it” and that he should “talk about it somewhere else.” He also told the press that he has developed an interest in “creating dramas” like the ones he watches and critiques after doing this for the last decade or so.
So here’s an idea for Miyamoto’s next project: A Japanese morning drama about game devs trying to finish a big project before a tight deadline. I’d watch that.