LOS ANGELES, Nov 8, 2023 (AFP) – Nintendo is developing a film based on its hugely popular “The Legend of Zelda” franchise, the Japanese gaming giant announced, as it bids to capitalize on the blockbuster success of its recent “Mario” movie.
The new, live-action “Zelda” movie will be directed by Wes Ball, who made the “Maze Runner” trilogy, and co-produced by Avid Arad, who has overseen several major “Spider-Man” films.
Legendary Nintendo designer Shigeru Miyamoto, who created both the Mario and Zelda game franchises, and was heavily involved in this year’s smash-hit “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” also returns to produce the “Zelda” film.
“I have been working on the live-action film of The Legend of Zelda for many years now with Avi Arad-san, who has produced many mega hit films,” Miyamoto wrote, on an official Nintendo social media account Tuesday.
“I have asked Avi-san to produce this film with me, and we have now officially started the development of the film with Nintendo itself heavily involved in the production.
“It will take time until its completion, but I hope you look forward to seeing it.”
Japanese-owned Hollywood giant Sony Pictures will co-finance and distribute the movie in theaters.
Nintendo remained wary of Hollywood adaptations of its franchises for decades after its 1993 live-action “Super Mario Bros.” movie disastrously flopped.
But its return to the big screen with “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” was an enormous box office success, grossing $1.36 billion globally — second this year only to “Barbie.”
The success is part of a growing Hollywood trend. Other recent successful video game adaptations have included HBO’s TV series “The Last of Us,” and horror movie “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” which has topped the US box office for the past two weeks.
In an interview with AFP in April ahead of the “Mario” film, Miyamoto said Nintendo had learned that “we wanted to develop the movie ourselves, instead of licensing it” to another company.
No plot or casting details for the “Zelda” film have yet been announced.
In the game series, elf-like warrior Link typically battles with the evil king Ganon to save Princess Zelda from dark forces plaguing the magical, Medieval-style land of Hyrule.
The Zelda game franchise, which began in 1986, includes more than a dozen titles — several of which have been acclaimed by critics as among the great video games of all time — and has sold over 150 million copies.
Nintendo shares rose by 6 percent in early trading Wednesday, following the “Zelda” announcement, and the company’s quarterly results the previous day.