Cash Cow Franchise: Mario is the best-selling video game franchise of all time, by a massive margin. Pokémon, which is in second place, only has half the sales (though it is way, way higher-grossing as a media franchise).
The Character Ice Cream Bar: Popsicle has an ice of Mario's face. It's more stylized than usual, only being white and red. It's cherry flavoured and has a gumball nose. The ice has been discontinued.
Mario's (and Luigi's) character design is one, as the mustache and overalls were only designed by Shigeru Miyamoto as a greater contrast for players due to the 8-bit graphical limitations of Donkey Kong.
Right in Yoshi's character design this whole time. According to Takashi Tezuka in "Super Mario History 1985-2010" (which was bundled with Super Mario All-StarsLimited Edition), the reason Yoshis have saddles in the first place is because it's a visual leftover from the time in development they were meant to be a type of Koopa, originally making it their shells. As a result, their saddles have been stated to be shells on occasion.
Fandom Life Cycle: Stage 5, because the Mario series is basically the most well known, popular video game series in history. Especially true of the 'Mario Mania' years, wherein American children knew Mario better than Mickey Mouse.
Flagship Franchise: It goes without saying that the Mario series is Nintendo's flagship franchise, constantly getting at least one new game (including spin-offs) every year ever since it debuted in the 80's.
Surprisingly enough, the exact relationship between Mario and Peach. Given that in most games, the whole point is to rescue Peach from Bowser. Some games all but outright state that they're an Official Couple while others only have them as Implied Love Interests. Other characters like Luigi and Daisy also muddy the situation.
Sources aren't really sure if Wario and Waluigi are brothers or not. They also aren't sure if Toad and Toadette are siblings, love interests, or entirely unrelated.
Is Yoshi a dinosaur or a dragon? Most sources state dinosaur, but at least one instance (the Japanese "Nintendo Kids Space" official site) has denied it.
Do Mario and Luigi have last names? Over time the official word has flipped between "no, they don't", "Yes, but it's unstated", and "yes, and it is 'Mario'".
The Koopalings' relation to Bowser. From their introduction in Super Mario Bros. 3 to as late as Super Smash Bros. Melee, they were explicitly stated to be Bowser's own children. Then in 2012 Shigeru Miyamoto went on record saying Nintendo's "current story" is that they're unrelated to Bowser; however, they're still high-ranking members of Bowser's army whom he treats as such. Then in 2014, Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U shifted the relationship again from a definite "No!" to an ambiguous "Maybe" with some of them being labeled as Koopa royalty and their relationship to Bowser being described as "unknown". Despite a phase in which Nintendo also had a direct hand in historical revisionalism, it has been relented and accepted that the Koopalings are still at least referred to as Bowser's children in re-releases of older material.
Is Rosalina a queen or a goddess? What we only know that she is the "Mama" of the Lumas, with her clothing designs related to royalty, but her Long-Lived lifespan suggests agelessness. She's been stated to be a princess in the official guides of Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel as well as online material for Mario Kart 8, but unlike Peach and Daisy, she's almost never referred to as Princess Rosalina.
Franchise Zombie: Some of the subseries are considered this, churning out regular sequels of generally diminishing quality and originality with no involvement from the creative teams that worked on their earliest installments. The Mario Party and Mario Tennis spinoffs are two of the more notable examples.
Nintendo never retconned anything about Mario being a plumber in 2017, in fact, they never made any meaningful statement about his current job at all. The Japanese Twitter linked to a profile that happened to refer to him being a plumber in the past tense, but this was specifically referencing the original Mario Bros. game, which was one of the few times he's actually done a plumbing job. Several articles reporting on this warped it into "Mario is no longer a plumber!" In response to the misunderstanding, the profile was updated again in 2018. Clearly stating that, yes, Mario is a plumber, but he's not limited to just that.
No, the developers of Super Mario World didn't confirm that Mario abuses Yoshi, misleading headlines simply lead people into believing they did. They said that while it was originally conceived as Mario hitting him, most of the development team found that too mean for Mario and revised it into him simply pointing and telling Yoshi "Go". So they, in fact debunked the idea that Mario abuses Yoshi.
The 30th anniversary year of Super Mario Bros. saw the release of Super Mario Maker, a level-creating and -sharing game for the Wii U allowing players to make levels in the style of SMB, SMB 3, Super Mario World, or New Super Mario Bros. U. A downgraded port was also release to Nintendo 3DS the following year.
Serendipity Writes the Plot: Mario's entire design was created from technical limitations. During the development of the original Donkey Kong arcade game, the devs went whole hog creating a character that could work, and look good, in the game's spritework. Thus, he was given a hat (easier to show than hair in a death animation), overalls (the contrasting colors helped make movement look smooth), and a mustache (easier to animate, especially for facial definition, than a mouth), and became the Acrofatic Italian Stallion we all know today.
At one point, when Charles Martinet was just getting started as the voice of Mario, his friend Stevie Coyle filled in for him from time to time so that he could catch a break during the long, long CES hours.
In Mario Party 1 and 2, the Japanese version of Mario Kart 64, and Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Luigi is voiced by a French localizer called Julien Bardakoff. His take on Luigi is completely different from Martinet's. You can hear him here. In those same games, German localizer Thomas Spindler voices Wario, so he has a slight accent. It even caused the infamous "D'oh I missed!"/"So ein mist!" Mondegreen.
Peach had a much lower voice in the International versions of Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64, provided by Nintendo Localization Director Leslie Swan. This voice was brought back in Super Mario 64 DS, complete with newly recorded lines for the ending to take the added playable characters into account... and then she's back to her high voice for the subsequent games, with the odd exception of Super Paper Mario, where Swan voices the character for the final time.
In the original N64 installment of Mario Tennis and Mario Party3 through 5, Daisy had a much higher-pitched and girlier-sounding voice provided by Jen Taylor, but starting with Mario Golf Toadstool Tour, she is voiced by Deanna Mustard.
Unisex Series, Gendered Merchandise: Super Mario Bros is a perfectly unisex franchise yet, when it comes to merchandise, it very often gets pinned as being "for boys". Toys, clothes, etc featuring Mario and Luigi are near exclusively aimed at male fans. The main exception to this is Princess Peach merchandise, as her pink Princess Classic design results in her being used for girl-aimed merch.
Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto infamously stated in a 2012 interview that the Koopalings aren't Bowser's children, as described above.
The nicknames the developers respectively gave the Blue and Yellow Toads are, allegedly, Bucken-Berry and Ala-Gold.
Word of Saint Paul: Charles Martinet (talking in-character as Mario) confirmed the Mario last name at Comic Con 2012, prior to the Flip-Flop of God finally settling on same. Mind you, he also confirmed that Mario's mother is named "Mama Mia Mario", so how seriously you take his statements in that role is up to you.
The infamous The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Kootie Pie Rocks", where Milli Vanilli guest star as themselves. In November 1990, just two weeks after it first aired, Milli Vanilli were outed as lip-syncing their songs and their popularity plummeted. In addition, the series itself is based on one of the best-selling video games of 1990.
Super Mario World was based on the game that launched the Super NES. It couldn't have come out in any year other than 1991.
Despite be given creative control by Lightmotive, Nintendo had no interest in overseeing the film's production. To them, the Super Mario brand was too big to fail and this was more or less an experiment to test the strength of the franchise.
After the script they had initially seen (and loved enough to sign on) had been revised again and again, often in the middle of filming, the cast eventually gave up on trying to make a good film. The script was getting several revisions a week (often more than one a day) so the actors gave up on reading the new versions, except just before having to act out the scene. Why bother if you knew it was just going to change again by the time you were ready to shoot? The cast focused more on just getting through the day. For the most part, this was the fault of the directors who had went a little power mad once given the job and constantly keep ordering the script changed. Even the producers, Lightmotive, were more then annoyed with this for this and forced to step in to get them to stop.
Creator Backlash: Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo disliked the film, though the latter seems to have eventually warmed up to the film, per this video. To be more specific, it wasn't so much the film but the experience getting through it that they hated due to the directors constantly changing things as filming went on. Hoskins and Dennis were especially noted on how awful it was working with the two and called them unprofessional. For the most part, when news of this came to light, fans were actually a bit more of appreciative of the three for managing to work through such terrible conditions and, considering how the final product turned out, noted it could've been a lot worse then what we got.
Rocky Morton has yet to direct another feature-length film since Super Mario Bros., with or without his ex-wife. He has even admitted in interviews that most of his projects stop dead in their tracks once his potential producers learn he directed this film.
Annabel Jankel (now going by AJ Jankel) did not direct another theatrically released feature film until 2018's Tell It to the Bees. In an odd bit of trivia, Tell It to the Bees is an adaptation from a book authored by Fiona Shaw - although, not the same Fiona Shaw that played Lena in this film.
Deleted Scene: Nearly a half-hour of footage was cut to give the movie a proper running time. Deleted scenes include:
An extended sequence of Koopa chasing Daisy's mother in New York, which featured him gazing admiringly at the buildings which would later inspire his warped construction projects in Dinohattan.
Mario and Luigi actually confronting the "Scapelli brothers", Mike and Doug, in the River Front Café. They threaten the café's owner, Pascal, by invoking their boss' name. Pascal takes Mario aside and offers him and Luigi a free lunch to make it up to them, which leads to:
An alternate scene of Mario and Luigi eating. Daisy enters the café and uses the payphone inside, slipping on a wet floor as she leaves. Luigi catches her and the movie continues that way.
Mario and Luigi getting ready for their dinner date, during which Luigi expresses embarrassment at being a plumber. Mario chastises him and tells him he has no "family pride."
An extended sequence in the de-evolution chamber, during which one of the devo technicians is de-evolved into slime. A puddle can still be seen on the floor in the final film.
Iggy and Spike getting drunk at the Boom Boom Bar and rapping an anti-Koopa song, which Lena cites later to Koopa as them "preaching your overthrow."
Various assorted scenes, including additional sequences from the cut "family pride" subplot.
Development Hell: Went through a rapid version of this, with over a half-dozen different writers, three sets of directors, and both Tom Hanks and Dustin Hoffman expressed interest in playing Mario before executives rejected them. In the end, the script was almost entirely rewritten on set with mutual silence between the cast, director, producers, and Nintendo brass. Then, allegedly due to drinking on set, Jankel ran into Leguizamo with a car, breaking his leg. You can even see the cast in some shots of the movie.
Enforced Method Acting: Mojo Nixon, who played Toad, was legitimately terrified of Dennis Hopper's performance as Koopa, particularly the scene where he was de-evolving and strapped to the chair.
The script by writers Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais was so clever that it inspired Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper, and Fiona Shaw to sign onto the project. However, Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel hated the fantasy based elements of the script and only agreed to direct the film if they could rewrite it to be more gritty and sci-fi. In the end, the producers feared it wasn't kid-friendly enough, so they forced heavy rewrites and barred directors from contributing to them.
Further changes to the script in terms of special effects and character-development severely limited their vision even further.
In the end, over twenty minutes of footage was cut to get Mario and Luigi into the parallel world sooner while the atrociously animated intro was inserted to make up for it.
Fatal Method Acting: Averted. During the chase through the pipe, someone thought that the mattress was going too slow, so they loosened one of the wires that was pulling them. When the crew came back from lunch, nobody checked the rig. They then shot the scene where Mario and the Brookyln Babes flew out of the tunnel, only to find they were going way too fast and out of control. One of the Babes almost fell off the mattress twenty five feet onto solid concrete. They all stayed on, but when it hit the ground, it flipped over and they all smashed their heads. Aside from a few bruises, they were okay.
Bob Hoskins claimed that during the course of the production, he broke a finger, got stabbed four times, got electrocuted and very nearly drowned. "And that's just what happened to me".
Follow the Leader: The directors Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel went in hoping to make this movie their Batman (1989), which is what put the fellow eccentric filmmaker Tim Burton on the map. With that in mind, the tone being darker and the setting being that of stylized sprawling cityscape make a bit more sense.
Genre-Killer: For video game-based movies as a whole, for it was one of the first such films of this kind and set a very low standard for future such films to come.
Hostility on the Set: The cast and crew disliked Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel for their allegedly obnoxious and controlling behaviors, their regular rewrites of the script, and for making major changes to the film without telling each other or members of the production. The film crew would regularly refer to them by insulting nicknames and even had t-shirts made that displayed rude comments made by the directors (Bob Hoskins referred to them as "the cunt and the cow"). Reportedly, at one point, Dennis Hopper was so fed up the with drawn out and constantly changing production that he spent almost three hours yelling at the directors, holding up the filming of a scene in Koopa's bedroom.
Looping Lines: According to the post-production supervisor, Super Mario Bros. had the most ADR-looping of any film she had ever encountered.
Money, Dear Boy: This is the reason Super Mario Bros. has one of the highest Embarrassed Actor Quotients since 1990. Apparently, many very good actors were having critical shortages of money around the same time both Dennis Hopper and Bob Hoskins admitted they did it for the paycheck (in Hopper's case, it may have been a joke).
Dennis Hopper: I made a picture called Super Mario Bros., and my six-year-old son at the time hes now eighteen he said, "Dad, I think youre probably a pretty good actor, but why did you play that terrible guy King Koopa in Super Mario Bros.?" and I said, "Well, Henry, I did that so you could have shoes," and he said, "Dad, I dont need shoes that badly."
John Leguizamo's first leading film role (at least he got the worst out of his way early on). He was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, the next movie in which he appeared. He is far less negative about the movie nowadays. Though he admits the movie isn't very good, he none the less has fond memories of working on it, says they all had a blast and was thrilled to get to work with Hoskins and Hopper. He also points out that even though the film wasn't great, the fact that people remember it 20 years later means it certainly left it's mark for better or worse.
Conversely, many of the non-leads have stated it was one of their favorite movies to work on. Some even say it is their favorite movie.
The film was this for Bob Hoskins, who stated he only took the role of Mario for the sake of one of his sons who was a huge Mario fan. Unfortunately, the film ended up being an unpleasant experience for Hoskins, as he clashed with Morton and Jankel (whom he called "fuckin' idiots" in a later interview) and grew exasperated by the script's frequent rewrites, which prevented him from getting a handle on his character. His only positive memories involved some of his costars, with whom he would share alcohol (and occasionally marijuana) during days off from shooting. Hoskins remained bitter about the experience for the rest of his life, as shown by an interview with The Guardian's Rosanna Greenstreet in 2011:
Rosanna Greenstreet: What is the worst job you've done? Bob Hoskins: Super Mario Brothers. Rosanna Greenstreet: What has been your biggest disappointment? Bob Hoskins: Super Mario Brothers. Rosanna Greenstreet: If you could edit your past, what would you change? Bob Hoskins: I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.
Dennis Hopper often admitted his regret in working on the film even before dying of prostate cancer in May 2010.
Screwed by the Network: Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel were hired to make the film dark and gritty like Max Headroom. However, right after the sets were finished and the plot was storyboarded, the producers got cold feet on making a mature Super Mario film and made family friendly rewrites to the script without input from the directors, who did everything they could to keep the film as close to their original vision as possible. The fights between the directors and the producers for control of the film is one of the major reasons for the chaos during the movie's production.
Sequel Gap: The webcomic began publishing two decades after the original film's release.
Stillborn Franchise: The movie's troubled production, box-office failure, and resulting mandate from Nintendo ended the production of a sequel, and dashed studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg's dreams of bringing Nintendo products into Disney's business model. More drastically, it put Nintendo off licensing their products for live-action films. It would take 25 years before Nintendo allowed another film version of the franchise to begin production, this time as a cartoon from Illumination Entertainment.
Throw It In!: Fisher Stevens and Richard Edson improvised most of their lines as Spike and Iggy.
As Dennis Hopper put it, "It was a nightmare, very honestly, that movie. It was a husband-and-wife directing team who were both control freaks and wouldn't talk before they made decisions... I was supposed to go down there for five weeks, and I was there for seventeen. It was so over budget."
This interview reveals more of this film's troubled production.
To cut a long story extremely short, it's safe to say that literally everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The script changed several dozen times, including by the day during filming, the directors and writers being forbidden from interacting, the directors being locked out of the editing booth during the editing process until they got the Writer's Guild to back them up, and gigantic amounts of Executive Meddling.
Multiple figures were once involved in the project, from the directors wanting Kevin Costner for Koopa, Dustin Hoffman lobbying for the chance to play Mario as a treat for his kids, and Harold Ramis, the producers' original choice for director (contrary to popular rumor, Danny DeVito was never a choice for the role of Mario).
As far as casting Mario, Tom Hanks was initially hired for the role, but was fired and replaced with Hoskins, whom the executives thought was more profitable.
According to Mojo Nixon, he was cast in the role of Toad because the production wanted an actual musician for the character, but their first choice Tom Waits was unavailable. Nixon's agent pitched him to casting as a "third-rate Tom Waitsfor half-price."
The first draft of the script was a pure fantasy movie. Bowser only disguises himself as a human in his first two scenes, the Princess character is named Hildy, and Bowser wants to marry her in order to obtain the Crown of Invincibility with which to take over the Mushroom Kingdom. Actual game enemies such as Piranha Plants and Thwomps make appearances, Toad accompanies the Marios throughout their journey as a main character, a baby dinosaur named Junior thinks Mario is his mother, Luigi gets Raccoon Power at one point, one of Bowser's lackeys (a possible prototype for Kamek) tells Mario "Your Princess Is in Another Castle!", Mario and Luigi sing a Villain Song about Bowser, and Bowser ends up falling into a pit of lava. In other words, this draft is much more faithful to the games.
Mario's character was written differently before Bob Hoskins was attached to the role. Screenwriter Parker Bennett described him as "Bill Murray-esque", closer in age to Luigi,note Hoskins and Leguizamo were twenty-two years apart. and that they had Bruno Kirby in mind for the role.
[...]what we decided is, "Okay, Mario has a big chip on his shoulder about being a plumber. Hes inherited his dads business [and] it's not what he wants to do"; its sort of a It's a Wonderful Life thing with Jimmy Stewart at the bank when he wants to be traveling the world. [ ] And in the end he learns through the adventure that hes the greatest plumber in the world and he needs his brother and theyre a team together and that was sort of what we were trying to do for that.
Originally Toad was going to die by being turned into slime in the Devo chamber, while the friendly Goomba that Daisy helps was a separate character named Hark. Thanks to Mojo Nixon's screen presence the decision was made to combine the characters, with the sliming victim being changed to a technician.
The biggest one was the reason Jeffrey Katzenberg bought the rights to this film for Disney. Had the film been successful, the Walt Disney Company would have then started efforts to market Nintendo and their franchises, led (of course) by the Super Mario franchise, in the Disney Theme Parks. Katzenberg and Disney Animation were also working with Sega to a limited degree for the same reasons with the Aladdinvideo game,note Also, the Sonic Sat AM and Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon series were distributed by Walt Disney Home Video on VHS and LaserDisc through DiC Toon-Time Video (these tapes start with the green FBI warning screens that also started this movie's VHS and which first appeared on the Walt Disney Studio Film Collection video series; they appeared on all tapes after the Walt Disney Classics video of Fantasia), long before Sonic appeared in the Disney Animated Classic Wreck-It Ralph. and both attempts virtually faded when Katzenberg departed the company the nextyear. Their attempt specifically to bring the Nintendo franchises into the Disney parks ended up biting them in the ass later on when major rival Universal Studios struck a licensing deal with Nintendo in May 2015 (and it ended up stinging Disney even more when Universal later announced that it would be producing an animated Mario movie through Illumination Entertainment in 2018).