Nintendo and Sony Pictures appear to have closed a deal for the film rights to the Super Mario Bros. video game franchise, according to a Buzzfeed report based on Sony emails recently leaked to the media.
While Buzzfeed's report includes a number of congratulatory emails between producer Avi Arad and Sony studio chief Amy Pascale about closing the deal and plans for the franchise, Arad later denied the deal has closed to Buzzfeed.
In the emails, Pascale seems to suggest to Tom Rothman, who heads up TriStar Pictures, that the movie should be animated.
In another email, Sony Pictures Animation president of production Michelle Raimo Kouyate thanks Arad and says she can "think of 3-4 movies right out of the gate on this."
Nintendo has been reluctant to sign movie deals for its properties since the famously bad release of the 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film that starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo. Though, in the past year or so Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto has been playing around with creating animated shorts based on the company's properties.
In a 2013 interview, Miyamoto told Polygon that he didn't want to license out the company's characters to someone else to create films.
"Instead," he said, "since I used to draw four-panel comics when I was younger, I thought it would be fun to bring a four-panel comic approach to creating video content, so we started work on these Pikmin videos."
In late 2013, Nintendo started releasing cartoons, including Pikmin shorts, to the 3DS through Nintendo Video.
We've reached out to Nintendo and Sony for comment on this story and will update when they respond.