Nintendo is heading into the movie business. Several movies will be released in the coming years, according to the President of Nintendo Tatsumi Kimishima. But can this move save Nintendo after the Wii U bombed and Nintendo has lost a lot of relevance in the videogame industry?
Upon hearing this piece of news, many felt reminded of how Marvel Comics went into the movie business. After several movie adaptations that didn’t work out so well, mostly because they were stuck in development hell, Marvel decided to do the movies themselves. With some nice investment money by Merril Lynch (a paltry sum of 525 Million Dollars), they were able to fund the first couple of movies, of which Iron Man became an instant hit, laying the foundation for the Marvel cinematic universe. What’s even better: They get to keep the profit all for themselves. This is a huge improvement over the Blade, X-Men and Spider-Man movies, where they only got shockingly low flat-fees.
This has been a very impressive development if we consider that the company initially went bankrupt back in 1996. They were struggling to come up with new, lucrative ideas and lost a third of their staff. So, in some ways, their situation in the late 1990’s was somewhat similar to what Nintendo is experiencing right now. While the 3DS is doing well enough, the Wii U is a disaster and the company experienced its first annual losses in 2014. The situation has improved, but it’s still pretty bleak, especially compared to the time the Wii ruled supreme.
While comic-book movies prove to be immensely profitable, the same can’t necessarily be said about videogame movies. Most of them are critically panned even though some turn out a decent profit, like the Resident Evil franchise. The biggest hit so far (according to Box-Office-Mojo) has been the original Lara Croft movie. It grossed 274 Million Dollars worldwide with a budget of 115 Million Dollars. And Nintendos own Super Mario Bros. Movie? 20.9 Million Dollars, with a budget of 48 Million Dollars! Ouch!
However, a lot of that was due to the lacking quality of said movie. If Nintendo’s at the helm of these movies and handles production themselves, the outcome might prove to be entirely different. A Nintendo Cinematic Universe could be a very profitable endeavor – Not only because the movies could generate a lot of profit, but also because they could revitalize interest in Nintendo’s IPs. Something Ubisoft is betting on with its Assassin’s Creed movie too. And lets not forget Nintendo is trying to do the same thing with Apps like Miitomo at the moment.
But can better videogame movies improve the situation on the videogame market as a whole too? While reports are conflicting on this matter, the comic book market shows clear signs of growth since the comic book movie boom. The market has been steadily evolving these past years and it’s hard to imagine that none of that growth stems from people getting interested in comics thanks to the big screen adventures of those superheroes.
What do you think, will Nintendo be able to pull a Marvel here?