Decades before Assassin's Creed became the latest in a long line of video game movie flops, there was Super Mario Bros. Based on the massively popular franchise, the 1993 movie starred Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo as the titular heroes as they discover an ancient evil, an underground city, and their true destiny. With a budget of $48 million and a box office haul of only $20.9 million, the movie was a huge failure. Gaining a 15% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, it failed to impress both critics and filmgoers.
Though not every adaptation of a video game has been a failure, the movie laid out many of the issues that would be faced by future attempts—like films for Double Dragon and Street Fighter, which both released to mixed results the following year. The movie couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a weird, adult-themed, sci-fi film, or a family-friendly homage to the wackiest elements of the video game. The results seemed to split the difference, offering a tonally-confusing final product that both Hoskins and Leguizamo then spent years criticizing. While this first attempt to turn a hit game into a film didn't stop the trend from continuing, it marked Nintendo's sole effort to adapt one of their franchises to the big screen.
Now, fresh off the heels of Assassin's Creed's failure at the box office and Super Mario Run's success on the App Store, CBR has discovered that the Super Mario Bros. movie is getting re-released as a Steelbook Blu-ray in the UK.
Available now for preorder, the Blu-ray will drop early next year for any diehard Nintendo completists out there. It will come with some archival footage of Hoskins, as well as a new documentary on the film featuring Leguizamo and the producers. Given the complex rights usually involved in film distribution, it's unknown if original backer Disney is behind this, or if it's simply being pushed out by whoever owns the UK or European rights. Either way, it's likely only to attract the attention of those who enjoy B-movies or any kids or parents who aren't aware of the film's legacy and simply purchase it based on the recent mobile game's popularity.
It's also likely a coincidence that this release will coincide with Assassin's Creed bombing at the box office, though it's certainly fitting that the first video game adaptation is back in the spotlight right after the release of the latest film to attempt the feat. Perhaps the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot will once again break the curse, much like its predecessor did when it debuted to modest success over a decade ago. Fans have long been hoping that properties like Metroid or Zelda would finally make the jump to live action, but the reemergence of Nintendo's greatest shame may remind the company of what happened last time they tried to bring their characters to life in movie form.
The Super Mario Bros. Blu-ray will release in the UK on February 13, 2017.