Nintendo’s Movie Franchise Plans Mean Disney & Pixar’s Animated Reign Will End



  • Nintendo’s expansion into movies and its partnership with Illumination could pose a serious threat to Disney and Pixar’s reign over animated films.
  • With beloved characters like Mario, Link, and Kirby, Nintendo has the potential to create billion-dollar franchises and become the new animation powerhouse.
  • Disney and Pixar’s recent box office struggles, coupled with Nintendo’s massive fanbase, make it increasingly likely that Illumination will surpass them in the future.



After the billion-dollar success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Nintendo and Illumination have big plans for their coming franchise — and that could mean the end of Disney and Pixar’s reign over animated films. Disney and Pixar have long been regarded as the standard when it comes to animation, with DreamWorks and Illumination just barely keeping up. The latter studios have released hits like Shrek and Despicable Me, but overall, their lineups don’t compare when it comes to critical acclaim and public recognition.

That’s likely to change after The Super Mario Bros. Movie, as Illumination has plans to turn more Nintendo properties into an animated movie franchise. That will likely include The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2, but it also offers hope that characters like Link and Kirby will eventually appear on the big screen. Depending on the IPs it turns into films, Nintendo could present Disney and Pixar with steep competition. After all, it’s one of the biggest video game companies out there, and its games and characters offer almost endless storytelling opportunities.

Nintendo’s Movie Franchises Are Great News For Illumination’s Future

Nintendo's Super Smash Bros Movie Characters

Nintendo’s decision to expand its IPs to other areas, including movies, is good news for Illumination’s future. Although Illumination debunked rumors of a Legend of Zelda movie, the studio has plenty of other Nintendo games it can tap for fresh ideas. The Super Mario games offer multiple films’ worth of content, and hits like Kirby, Animal Crossing, and Star Fox could easily make the jump to the big screen. Zelda games like Breath of the Wild could also be fair game in the future, and Nintendo would be wise to capitalize on the franchise’s popularity.

Given the massive fanbases these video games already have, Illumination could very well produce more billion-dollar Nintendo adaptations in the future. Doing so would shift the dynamics in Hollywood, making the studio the new animation powerhouse. It’s already seen some success with Despicable Me and its Minions follow-ups. However, leveraging Nintendo properties can take the studio to new levels, making it all the more likely it will dethrone Disney and Pixar at some point down the line.

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Nintendo Could Help Illumination Dethrone Disney & Pixar

Pixar Movies Box Office After Toy Story 4

Illumination can’t dethrone Disney and Pixar on its own, but its newfound access to Nintendo properties may help it surpass both studios. Nintendo’s characters have become just as iconic as those associated with Disney and Pixar, and they’ll draw similar audiences. Movie adaptations promise to make them more popular, all while Disney and Pixar’s success dwindles. Pixar’s recent movies fell into a disastrous box office trend, with none of them breaking even until Elemental made a small profit this summer. The studio’s grip on the realm of animation is already loosening, and more Nintendo movies may speed that along.