As a company, Nintendo has always marched to the beat of its own drum. While others have pursued cutting edge specs or, at times, chased trends, Nintendo looks at the market differently, tackling new technologies only when it feels it’s in the best interests of its storied IP and its family-centric audience. The House of Mario is not blind, however, when it comes to major business opportunities. With a Super Mario animated film from Illumination (Minions) coming soon, and Nintendo recently launching its own Tokyo-based animation studio, Nintendo Pictures, the company’s transmedia embrace is now crystal clear.
The teaser trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie surpassed 10 million views on Illumination’s YouTube channel in just a few days, and despite any controversy surrounding actor Chris Pratt voicing the famous Italian plumber, the trailer did its job, sparking conversation among Gen X and Millennials who grew up with Nintendo systems and their children who are just familiarizing themselves with the Mario franchise now. Anecdotally, some Interpret parents witnessed their own kids marvel at the beautifully animated world that Illumination crafted for Nintendo.
Through partnerships with heavyweights like Illumination and new productions in the works at Nintendo Pictures, Nintendo is just getting started with its transmedia push, and it couldn’t be timed better. With the voracious appetite that many consumers now have for gaming-related content, gaming IP is doing better than it ever has in Hollywood and on streaming platforms. Nintendo Pictures (formerly Dynamo Pictures) has more than 30 years of experience creating CG animation for games, TV, and film. Some of its more impressive work came lately on projects like Death Stranding and Monster Hunter World.
Piggybacking on the incredible success of the Nintendo Switch, owned by millions of families across America, Nintendo is carefully constructing a multi-pronged strategy to leverage its most cherished IP not just in games, but across movies, toys (e.g. Lego), merchandise, and at theme parks. Much like Star Wars and Marvel, Nintendo’s Mario finds itself in rare territory as a franchise that has stood the test of time and has bridged multiple generations.
In fact, according to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, Super Mario ranks ahead of both Star Wars and Marvel for fanship in most age brackets. Consumers over age 45 don’t rank Mario quite as high, but if Nintendo’s transmedia strategy works, the company may foster new lifetime fans of Mario and other properties.
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