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How did Super Mario Bros. The Movie become so Shit so quickly?

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Timeaisis

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May 27, 2011
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I'm glad it exists. I have no idea what it has to do with Mario, but I'm glad it exists. I don't think a movie like that could be made today. For better or worse, it sure is unique.
 

benjipwns

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Jul 11, 2007
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Film producer Roland Joffé visited Nintendo of America’s headquarters in 1991, and pitched a Super Mario Bros. film to then-president Minoru Arakawa after originally pitching the idea during a script meeting at Lightmotive Studios. Nintendo had already received several offers for a Mario movie, but Akarawa was interested by Joffé’s pitch, and the producer later flew to Nintendo's headquarters in Kyoto to speak with Hiroshi Yamauchi about a movie deal, and Nintendo later agreed to sell Joffé and Jake Eberts the rights to produce a Mario film for $2 million[9]. Other than imposing a deadline on production[10], Nintendo exerted little creative control on the project. Joffé speculated that Nintendo was mostly interested in seeing if a big-budget movie could change the image of the Mario brand[9].

Joffé initially chose filmmaker Greg Beeman as the director, but later lost faith in his abilities, and replaced him with duo Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, best known for Max Headroom.

The original script for the movie was a light-hearted fantasy romp comparatively closer to the themes of the series. However, after the departure of Greg Beeman, the script went through multiple rewrites, each increasingly adding "dark" content and science-fiction elements[11]. Both the new directing team and Roland Joffé wanted a more adult-oriented production, justifying this direction by stating that Super Mario Bros. appealed to many demographics beside children[9]. A satirical, Mad Max-inspired script, impressed the directors[12] and actors Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper, and Fiona Shaw[11], but was later revised, due to concerns that the film was straying too far from the family friendly license. In a 2014 interview, Rocky Morton defended the direction of the film, stating that the idea was that the film was the "real story" and that the game was an unfaithful retelling of the events[12].

There were frequent conflicts between the directors and the rest of the staff. Most of the film crew disliked Morton and Jankel, referring to them with nicknames such as "Rocky and Annabel, the Flying Squirrel Show". Furthermore, the constant rewrites made the lead actors feel apathetic toward the shoot[13]. The directors were shut out of the production after most of the main scenes were filmed, as other production companies were brought in to complete the late and overbudget shoot[10].

In an interview, Bob Hoskins stated that Super Mario Bros. was "the worst thing I ever did"[14], and was especially critical of the directors, whom he thought of as arrogant[15]. Dennis Hopper echoed Hoskins's statement, and stated that he did not like working on Super Mario Bros., despite enjoying his time on Waterworld, a film notorious for its troubled production[16]. John Leguizamo also expressed a dislike of his role, writing in his aubiography Pimps, Hos, Playas, And the Rest of my Hollywood Friends, "Oh man [Super Mario Bros.] sucks. And I suck in it.", although he has since developed a somewhat more positive outlook of the film[17]. The opinion of various background staff on the overall production was more positive[18][19].

A featurette of the development of the film was also made, called The Making of... Super Mario Bros.. It describes in detail the production of the movie, with behind-the-scenes interviews.
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.[7] 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.[8] Hanks was later dismissed and Bob Hoskins was hired, who was believed to be a more profitable actor
Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario, had several guidelines that the film had to follow. Most of these were ignored.
An article in Spy magazine claimed that the script was being rewritten so many times during production that the actors stopped paying attention to these daily rewrites.

I'd say probably around this part:
Both the new directing team and Roland Joffé wanted a more adult-oriented production, justifying this direction by stating that Super Mario Bros. appealed to many demographics beside children
This is a somewhat fun idea though, too bad he didn't think of it 24 years earlier:
In a 2014 interview, Rocky Morton defended the direction of the film, stating that the idea was that the film was the "real story" and that the game was an unfaithful retelling of the events
 

GaimeGuy

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Jun 18, 2004
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I'd say probably around this part:


This is a somewhat fun idea though, too bad he didn't think of it 24 years earlier:
"Mario appeals to all ages... so let's make it more adult oriented!"

GREAT LOGIC
 

Cowlick

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Jan 23, 2014
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I thought it was pretty well known around here that I did.... what do you want to know?
What was the vibe like on set? Like, did you get a sense of the film's quality during shooting, or did it only hit when you saw it on the big screen?

The re-writes. How on earth did you accommodate new material coming in mid-shoot? What were some of the more bizarre ideas that never made it to screen?
 

benjipwns

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The re-writes. How on earth did you accommodate new material coming in mid-shoot?
This actually happens a fair amount more than one might expect, especially with set in stone deadlines, some of the best films have come about because of it. Also, some of the worst.
 

JoduanER2

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Jan 7, 2013
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"How did Super Mario Bros. The Movie become so Shit so quickly"

I dont get what do you mean by this... so quickly?
 

Madao

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There's a great chapter on the movie in the book Console Wars. The crasiest part is Nintendo had the option to bury the movie, but they gave the go ahead to put it in theaters anyway. After they had watched it!
well, this was the Nintendo that approved Hotel Mario and CDi Zelda. they were high on something very powerful in that period.

also, to think that we could have had Tom Hanks as Mario vs Arnold Schwarzenegger as Bowser battling it out if things were slightly different, i'd love to see the alternate universe where the movie was made with them.
 

Oblivion

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Jul 17, 2005
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In a 2014 interview, Rocky Morton defended the direction of the film, stating that the idea was that the film was the "real story" and that the game was an unfaithful retelling of the events
This guy sounds awesome.
 

sooperkool

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What was the vibe like on set? Like, did you get a sense of the film's quality during shooting, or did it only hit when you saw it on the big screen?

The re-writes. How on earth did you accommodate new material coming in mid-shoot? What were some of the more bizarre ideas that never made it to screen?
The vibe was fun, we realized this movie was supposed to be fun so we partied a lot. Plus we were waiting around a lot or watching the Crow shoot.

We didn't know we were making something bad since making a movie bears no resemblance to what ends up on screen in the end.

We would shoot something and then later on it could be that night or ten minutes later and we would have to shoot something completely different.... you never knew.

I think the most bizarre was gong to be Luigi and Mario fighting over Daisy at one point.
 

Oblivion

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The vibe was fun, we realized this movie was supposed to be fun so we partied a lot. Plus we were waiting around a lot or watching the Crow shoot.

We didn't know we were making something bad since making a movie bears no resemblance to what ends up on screen in the end.

We would shoot something and then later on it could be that night or ten minutes later and we would have to shoot something completely different.... you never knew.

I think the most bizarre was gong to be Luigi and Mario fighting over Daisy at one point.
Wait, what was your role on set?
 

neorej

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Jun 15, 2006
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The vibe was fun, we realized this movie was supposed to be fun so we partied a lot. Plus we were waiting around a lot or watching the Crow shoot.

We didn't know we were making something bad since making a movie bears no resemblance to what ends up on screen in the end.

We would shoot something and then later on it could be that night or ten minutes later and we would have to shoot something completely different.... you never knew.

I think the most bizarre was gong to be Luigi and Mario fighting over Daisy at one point.
Nobody looked at the Goombas and thought "hey, that looks actually really really dumb."?
 

sonto340

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The movie is great. In a drink a couple beers with someone who has never seen it in a "hey you know Mario right. Check out this shit"
It's so bad it's good. At every single turn you'll be incredulous at the liberties they took.

It's a lot like sonic 06 in that way.
 

bounchfx

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Oct 6, 2006
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whoa whoa whoa. the movie was awesome.

the only shit part was how they handled Yoshi

and questionable how they handled the goombas but at least they're lovable.

but seriously what the fuck were they thinking with yoshi
 

DoktorEvil

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Dec 8, 2013
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"How did Super Mario Bros. The Movie become so Shit so quickly"

I dont get what do you mean by this... so quickly?
I wasn't expecting (along with 99% of the moviegoers) to go from Brooklyn to cyberpunk Koopa city and evolved dinosaurs/lizards.

And seeing that creepy ass Yoshi.
 

Magnet_Man

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Jan 2, 2013
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What? The plot device that he finds hanging from ectoplasmic goop that takes literally 20 minutes to reach its destination and pay off?

Even the Rifftrax can't save this one. Awful in every possible sense.
I liked how everyone was shitting their pants and abandoning their cars from the mere sight of it.
 

Ziltoidia 9

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Jul 1, 2013
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I remember renting at on VHS at like 4-5 years old, being super excited and watching it. Afterwords I asked "Was that mario?"

I get nostalgic for the movie. Its so bad its good.

Furthermore, Toad in the movie is halarious. Like what were they thinking. I don't understand.
 

jstripes

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Dec 9, 2012
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It's funny. I'd never heard of the team behind Max Headroom before I read this article on The Verge last week, and now I'm finding out they made this heap of shit.

The only things I can say I enjoy is the uniforms actually looking pretty solid and the Mario Mario;Luigi Mario joke.
Well, there was Samantha Mathis. I kinda liked her.
 
Oct 2, 2013
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I liked it.

It hit all the right clusterfuck notes at all the right clusterfuck times. You sort of have to be in the mood for it and know you're not getting an "actual" Mario movie.
 

sooperkool

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That's pretty cool. Any fun/interesting anecdote we don't know about?
We did a lot of filming at an old cement plant that was like 130 feet high, since it was a cement plant there were a lot of sheer drops and very little hand rails and other safety features. not the best place to be unobservant or drunk.

Here's another one. The main street set has a lot of things in it you can't see in the movie. There are two stores that were like hoe shops for the dinos. One store was a "cutlery" store for a dino home, it contained all these autopsy and vivisection tools, really creepy stuff. Another store was a "hunting" store which contained a lot of fully automatic paramilitary gear, you had to pass all kinds of security to get in there...
 

DoktorEvil

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We did a lot of filming at an old cement plant that was like 130 feet high, since it was a cement plant there were a lot of sheer drops and very little hand rails and other safety features. not the best place to be unobservant or drunk.

Here's another one. The main street set has a lot of things in it you can't see in the movie. There are two stores that were like hoe shops for the dinos. One store was a "cutlery" store for a dino home, it contained all these autopsy and vivisection tools, really creepy stuff. Another store was a "hunting" store which contained a lot of fully automatic paramilitary gear, you had to pass all kinds of security to get in there...
And yet not a single shot of this world building stuff made it into post...

From the sounds of it, the set designers and director were busy taking Nintendo and the producers for a ride.
 

Do Better

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I don't remember hating it, just being disappointed and confused. I remember feeling the same way about The Masters of the Universe and Street Fighter.
 

GentlemanCrow

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I have the softest spot in my heart for it. Bad as it is I can put in on any time and be transported back to my early years. I was young enough for all the assitry to go over my head and enjoy every fabulously shoddy moment.

I rue the lack of a sequel and I love the costumes.
 

Priz

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I'd just like to say F U to the marketing team/money behind this movie. They crushed Lloyd Kaufman's marketing of his movie with hyping this movie over 3 months before it was released in theaters. None of Lloyd's ads received any airtime (at least here in the SF Bay Area) once the marketing hype train started for the Super Mario Bros movie.

(Lloyd owns Troma pictures, known for cheesy B movies such as Toxic Avenger and he's done quite well at it. He went to Studio Ghibli in Japan and said he was really touched by their film "My Neighbor Totoro" and he wanted to release this film in theaters in the US. After the hacked up version of Nausicaa they didn't want their stuff released here but he promised to release it unedited. After much work from him on them to get them to sell him the rights, they finally picked an insane number (at the time) - $1 million USD. He paid it - that's how strongly he felt about this movie. Used the Streamline Pictures dub that Carl Macek oversaw and released it in theaters across the US.)

TV ads for Totoro ran for 2 days and then from that 3rd day all the way until it's release there was mounting ads running constantly for the SMB movie. Lloyd just couldn't compete. He felt really bad about it too when we talked about this. (That he couldn't get the word out more/more people in theaters to see it.)
 

Mupod

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Jun 12, 2011
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If this movie wasn't associated with Super Mario it would have a cult following to this day. People hate it because it's different than the video games.
As a kid I liked the movie, I didn't really care how it was so different from the games. It's not like Mario had any kind of lore or backstory or consistency to it, the Super Mario Bros Super Show for example. Live action show AND a cartoon that had little to do with each other.

It wasn't a mental stretch for me as a kid to think of it as just an alternate universe or weird interpretation of the games. It's not like a faithful adaptation would have been any good either. I haven't seen it in a long time and have no desire to again, but yeah.
 

The Real Abed

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Mar 21, 2012
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Definitely informative, and interesting, but I cannot tolerate his pronunciation of Mario.

3/10.
Haha. Check out his The Happening episode. It literally gave me a new appreciation for that movie. Literally. It actually makes the movie make sense when he explains what Shamalamadingdong didn't want to. (Of course it's all theory, but it does make sense when you think about it.)

She always had extra stuff for us to do. Get this from craft services, somethings wrong with my trailer, do you know what i did with my shoes, I hate it here.
Hah, who didn't hate it there? She sounds like a princess. I still love her though. ❤️
 

HP_Wuvcraft

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Apr 18, 2011
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My favorite story of this production is Dennis Hopper going on a three-hour drug-induced rant on set and Bob Hoskins having to wear him down.
 

Man God

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Nov 2, 2007
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There's a great chapter on the movie in the book Console Wars. The crasiest part is Nintendo had the option to bury the movie, but they gave the go ahead to put it in theaters anyway. After they had watched it!
The chapter is nuts yet very Hollywood. Apparently the movie had multiple good scripts that would have been excellent, but meddling and politicking.
 

Amagon

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May 18, 2010
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I'd just like to say F U to the marketing team/money behind this movie. They crushed Lloyd Kaufman's marketing of his movie with hyping this movie over 3 months before it was released in theaters. None of Lloyd's ads received any airtime (at least here in the SF Bay Area) once the marketing hype train started for the Super Mario Bros movie.

(Lloyd owns Troma pictures, known for cheesy B movies such as Toxic Avenger and he's done quite well at it. He went to Studio Ghibli in Japan and said he was really touched by their film "My Neighbor Totoro" and he wanted to release this film in theaters in the US. After the hacked up version of Nausicaa they didn't want their stuff released here but he promised to release it unedited. After much work from him on them to get them to sell him the rights, they finally picked an insane number (at the time) - $1 million USD. He paid it - that's how strongly he felt about this movie. Used the Streamline Pictures dub that Carl Macek oversaw and released it in theaters across the US.)

TV ads for Totoro ran for 2 days and then from that 3rd day all the way until it's release there was mounting ads running constantly for the SMB movie. Lloyd just couldn't compete. He felt really bad about it too when we talked about this. (That he couldn't get the word out more/more people in theaters to see it.)
Wow, who knew Lloyd was a Ghibli fan and try to bring one of their films over in the states.
 

vid

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Oct 5, 2009
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You know, I collected most of the trading cards for the movie when I was a kid, and...

In a 2014 interview, Rocky Morton defended the direction of the film, stating that the idea was that the film was the "real story" and that the game was an unfaithful retelling of the events
...hm..

 

BlackGhost

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Dec 3, 2011
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I'm watching this right now on discovery family. Lol like what is this?! It's so strange it's wonderful
 

Snaku

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My parents gave me the choice of seeing Jurassic Park or Super Mario Bros. the Movie at the local theater one weekend way back in 1993. Upon leaving the theater this thought kept repeating in my head...



Little did I know how right I was until I rented the Mario movie on VHS several months later.
 

Currygan

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Jul 7, 2012
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My favorite story of this production is Dennis Hopper going on a three-hour drug-induced rant on set and Bob Hoskins having to wear him down.
lol, didn't know that
between this and Hoskins' dreadful time on set and subsequential comments, I now want a docu on this, it could be called

In the Shadow of the Mushroom Cloud: How Super Mario Bros. The Movie Got Mad(e)
 

MisterHero

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Jul 24, 2007
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The movie is quite close to SMB1's actually

SMB1: "King Koopa used BLACK MAGIC to transform the Mushroom People into BLOCKS"

Replace "black magic" with "[de]evolution" and "blocks" into "slimy fungus" and you have SMB the Movie.

My GTA Online character wears red overalls and a hat just like Bob Hoskins in this movie. It may be my permanent costume
 
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