The Super Mario Bros Movie: Release Date, Cast And Other Things We Know About The Nintendo-Illumination Animated Film

Mario (Chris Pratt) in The Super Mario Bros. Movie
(Image credit: Illumination/Nintendo/Universal)

Video game franchises like Resident Evil, Silent Hill, and even Pokémon have been adapted into feature films multiple times since the respective release of each game, while perhaps the biggest gaming series of all time — Super Mario Bros. — had a one-and-done approach to big screen adaptations. Well, that will change in the very near future with Nintendo and Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which will hopefully right the wrongs of its 1993 live-action predecessor and introduce the iconic plumber with an affinity for mushrooms to a new generation. 

With a voice cast that includes the likes of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, and a who’s who of top talent, not to mention some big-time producers including the man who created Mario, there’s a very good chance Nintendo’s signature character will get quite the redemption story when the movie lands in theaters in Spring 2023.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Title Page

(Image credit: Illumination/Nintendo/Universal)

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Will Be Released Theatrically In April 2023

The legendary plumber-turned-video-game-hero will hop his way into the hearts of moviegoers when The Super Mario Bros. Movie opens in North American theaters on April 5, 2023. The video game adaptation was originally slated to make its theatrical debut in December 2022, but Universal and Illumination elected to push the release back by about four months.

More information on the international release of the long-awaited game adaptation should become available in the coming months, so make sure to keep your ear to the ground (or any green tunnels that pop up throughout the Mushroom Kingdom). Now would be a perfect time to find the warp flute from Super Mario Bros. 3 to skip through the next year.

Chris Pratt in Avengers: Infinity War; Anya Taylor-Joy in The Queen's Gambit

(Image credit: Disney/Netflix)

The Super Mario Bros. Cast Includes Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy And More

Video game fans around the world were in for quite a surprise during the September 2021 Nintendo Direct event when Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who created Mario and a number of the company's other iconic characters, appeared on screen to talk about The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Miyamoto couldn’t share any details about the story or how it fits into the canon of the franchise, which dates back to 1981, he did share the all-star (and somewhat controversial cast).

First off is Chris Pratt (and not Danny DeVito) who will add to his busy schedule by portraying Nintendo’s mascot, Mario. Joining him in the Super Mario Bros. cast is Anya Taylor-Joy, who will be taking on the role of Princess Peach. Other members of this star-studded cast include Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike. 

chris pratt in the magnificent seven

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Chris Pratt Has Said His Mario Voice Isn’t Like Anything Else In The Super Mario Bros. Universe

Not long after it was announced Chris Pratt would be providing the voice of the iconic plumber in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, longtime fans were worried the portrayal would be offensive since Pratt is not Italian nor is he an Italian-American. Months later, Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri told TooFab that he understood the concerns and backlash from fans while also stressing that the Guardians of the Galaxy star wouldn’t be doing the typical “It’s a me, Mario” voice prevalent in the games dating back 30 years.

In June 2023, while speaking with Variety, Pratt himself said his portrayal of the character would be something new, something “unlike anything” heard before, stating:

I worked really closely with the directors and trying out a few things and landed on something that I’m really proud of and can’t wait for people to see and hear. … I’m providing a voice for an animated character, and it is updated and unlike anything you’ve heard in the Mario world before.

And although Pratt’s take on the pipe-jumping and princess-saving plumber has yet to be revealed, Meledandri told Variety just days earlier that he loved the performance, calling it “strong.”

Mario (Chris Pratt) in The Super Mario Bros. Movie

(Image credit: Illumination/Nintendo/Universal)

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Trailer Offers The First Glimpse At Chris Pratt’s Mario

Following several months of anticipation and worry by longtime Nintendo fans, the video game company and Universal Pictures finally released The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s teaser trailer, which offered up what everyone was waiting to see: Chris Pratt’s Mario. The trailer, which clocks in just shy of two-and-a-half-minutes in length, makes you wait until the second half before you get to see Mario and even longer until you get to hear Pratt’s voice. Prior to that, Jack Black’s Bowser is on full display, looking as menacing and oversized as ever, as he takes over another kingdom in his quest for world domination:

The Guardians of the Galaxy star saw the brief trailer a couple of weeks before the rest of the world had the opportunity in October 2022, saying he was “simply blown away” and that it was “very special.” In addition to Bowser and Mario, the trailer also showed off Toad (Keegan-Michael Key) and Luigi (Charlie Day), the latter of which was the topic of several Super Mario Bros. Movie responses on Twitter.

Mario standing on a platform in Super Mario Odyssey

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Longtime Mario Voice Actor Charles Martinet Will Appear In ‘Surprise Cameos’ Throughout The Movie

Dating back to the 1992 release of Mario Teaches Typing (the CD-ROM version only), Charles Martinet has voiced the cheery plumber and various other characters in the series of Nintendo games. Even though he won’t be lending his voice to Mario in the upcoming movie, Martinet is very much involved in the project. During the September 2021 Nintendo Direct event, Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that the longtime Mario voice actor will be portraying “surprise cameos” throughout the movie, none of which have been revealed at this time. Though if we were to guess, Wario, Waluigi, and maybe even an alternate-reality Mario would all be good bets.

Shigeru Miyamoto talking about the Super Mario Bros. movie during the September 2021 Nintendo Direct

(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Is Being Co-Produced By Illumination’s Chris Meledandri And Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto

Following the Nintendo Direct event, the company, alongside Illumination Entertainment, announced that two of the respective companies’ top executives would be leading the charge by producing The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Shigeru Miyamoto, the man who created Mario himself, will serve as one of the producers, while Illumination’s Chris Meledandri will stand in as the other.

In a statement that accompanied the announcement, Meledandri explained that he was “honored” to work with the legendary video game creator before saying Super Mario Bros. will be a unique Illumination project:

Mario and Luigi are two of the most beloved heroes in all of popular culture, and we are honored to have the unique opportunity to work so closely with Shigeru Miyamoto and the widely imaginative team at Nintendo to bring these characters to life in an animated movie, unlike any film Illumination has made to date.

Similarly, Miyamoto was excited to collaborate with Illumination and create a new experience for the Mario brand:

We are collaborating with Chris and his experienced team to not just create a character licensed film, but a new piece of entertainment which brings Super Mario Bros. to life on the screen, and allows everyone to enjoy whether or not they know about the game. The production so far is constructive and going very well, and both parties are learning a lot from each other.

The video game legend also asked for fans to be patient throughout the production and wait just a little bit longer for the movie to come out in theaters.

The Teen Titans riding tricycles in Teen Titans Go! to the Movies

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

The Movie Will Be Directed By Teen Titans Go! Developers Aaron Horvath And Michael Jelenic

​​In addition to having two high-profile producers helping keep The Super Mario Bros. Movie on track, the upcoming animated film will be directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, who previously worked together on the DC Comics animated series Teen Titans Go!, and the 2018 feature film Teen Titans Go! to the Movies. Nintendo and Illumination also announced that the movie’s script will be written by Matthew Fogel, who wrote The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, as well as  Minions: The Rise of Gru which crushed the competition upon its July 2022 debut.

Bowser (Jack Black) in The Super Mario Bros. Movie

(Image credit: Illumination/Nintendo)

Expect To Hear Some Classic Themes From The Game Within The Film Score

Anyone who has played any of the Mario games with the volume all the way down knows just how important Koji Kondo’s classic themes are to the playing experience. Though the longtime Mario composer isn’t completely in control of The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s soundtrack, producer Chris Meledandri revealed during an October 2022 Nintendo Direct that the legendary figure is “working hand-in-hand” with composer Brian Tyler to integrate those themes into the score.

Exactly how Kondo’s presence will impact the movie’s score remains to be seen (and heard), but it would be hard to have a movie based on the video game franchise without at least hearing that iconic song from the Super Mario Bros. opening level or other memorable tracks.

Mario (Chris Pratt) in The Super Mario Bros. Movie

(Image credit: Illumination/Nintendo/Universal)

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Has Been In The Works Since 2017

Although it is just now getting traction, this version of The Super Mario Bros. Movie has been in the works for half a decade now. Back in November 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported that Nintendo and Illumination Entertainment were getting together to make an animated movie based on the groundbreaking video game franchise. Through this partnership, Nintendo would hold on to some creative control and would have a say in the process, unlike the live-action Super Mario Bros. movie that was a box office failure upon its release in 1993. Only one film was confirmed at the time, hopefully more will not be far behind if the movie is a success at the box office.

Luigi and Mario in Super Mario Bros.

(Image credit: Buena Vista Pictures)

This Is The First Time The Iconic Video Game Franchise Has Been Adapted Since The Ill-Fated 1993 Live-Action Movie

When The Super Mario Bros. Movie opens in theaters on April 7, 2023, it will be nearly 30 years since the live action disaster of the same name was released. Often regarded as one of the worst video game movies of all time, the dark, gloomy, and all-around not-so-fun film failed to even bring fans of the game series (which was arguably at its peak in popularity) to the theaters upon its release in May 1993. Mario only by name, the movie took a major deviation from the path to the Mushroom Kingdom and instead gave audiences what could best be described as a fever dream starring Bob Hoskins, John Leguizamo, Dennis Hopper, and Samantha Mathis. Despite this, there are some who will argue the merits of the movie.

There is still a lot of time between now and the April 2023 release of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, so expect to hear more about the movie, including its plot and a full trailer, as we get closer. In the meantime, go ahead and get an early start on what other major releases will be on the 2023 movie schedule.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.