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Nintendo buys animation studio, forms Nintendo Pictures

Nintendo’s cinematic universe could go way beyond Chris Pratt’s Mario

Mario Tennis Aces - Mario holding out his racket Image: Camelot Software Planning/Nintendo
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Nintendo is buying Dynamo Pictures, a visual production company based in Tokyo that focuses on CG animation and motion capture. Nintendo announced its plan to buy Dynamo on Thursday, saying it would change the company’s name to Nintendo Pictures after the deal closes (which is expected to happen in October).

Dynamo Pictures has worked on several TV projects like Yuri! on Ice, as well as games like Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139 and Death Stranding. The studio has also worked with Nintendo in the past on the Pikmin Short Movies series.

According to Nintendo’s filing, the acquisition of this new studio is intended to “strengthen the planning and production structure of visual content in the Nintendo group” and focus on developing “visual content utilizing Nintendo IP.” While that statement is fairly vague, the move shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the recent resurgence of video game studios leaning into production of movies and TV shows to bolster their most popular franchises.

Sony released Uncharted earlier this year and is already in development on an HBO series based on The Last of Us as well as a Peacock series based on the Twisted Metal franchise. Perhaps even more analogous, Riot Games created the League of Legends animated series Arcane with Fortiche Productions, which it invested heavily in after the show’s first season debuted on Netflix. One-time Nintendo rival Sega has also made big bets on film and animation, with multiple Sonic the Hedgehog products released and in development.

In fact, Nintendo itself signaled that it was jumping into the Hollywood fray last year with the announcement of the new Super Mario Bros. movie, which will be produced by Illumination and star Chris Pratt, Seth Rogan, and Anya Taylor-Joy. Outside of just movies and shows, Nintendo could also be planning to use Dynamo to create new content for its games or even its theme parks. All of these would fall under Nintendo’s umbrella of “visual content” and would be areas that Dynamo has extensive experience in.