The CEO of animated movie house Illumination Chris Meledandri has been speaking about the decision to delay the release of The Minions: The Rise of Gru until audiences were flocking back to theatres. He has also given an update on the Super Mario movie.
Variety report from Barcelona’s CineEurope event that Meledandri said that while he was “thrilled to be part of building Peacock, it wouldn’t be at the expense of motion pictures and cinemas. We have a committed strategy to movies as a cinema-going experience, and we can layer other businesses on top of that.”
Addressing the controversial casting of Chris Pratt as Mario, Meledandri said; “Chris was cast because we felt he could give a great performance as Mario. And now that we’ve done about 15 recording sessions, and the movie is three-quarters done, I sit here and say that I love his performance as Mario.” He also said that considering he had “Italian American heritage, he could make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian Americans. I think we’re gonna be just fine. Especially because (Pratt) has given such a strong performance.”
Illumination’s commitment to the theatrical experience, which they also had with Sing 2, is in contrast to many other animation houses – including the giant Pixar. They decided to send Soul, Luca, and Turning Red straight to Disney Plus since the start of the ongoing pandemic. This decision may now be affecting the box office success of Lightyear, as audiences could be waiting to watch it at home.
The Super Mario movie is set for release in April 2023. It’s just the latest in a rash of videogame adaptations, although many are set to become TV series. Illumination will be hoping to replicate the huge success of the Sonic the Hedgehog movies. If you’re looking forward to Super Mario, check out our guide to the best kids movies in the meantime.