Super Mario Bros stars Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo in 1993
A week ago today, The Super Mario Bros Movie hit cinemas, smashing box office records. Defying the critics’ lukewarm reviews, the CGI blockbuster starring Chris Pratt and Jack Black had the biggest opening of an animated movie in history and has so far taken over $420 million at the global box office. No doubt Nintendo will be very pleased as 30 years ago their first attempt at bringing the Italian plumber to the big screen failed miserably.
The 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros movie starred Bob Hoskins as Mario, John Leguizamo as Luigi and Dennis Hopper as Koopa aka Bowser. The box office flop was slammed by critics and often comes top in lists of the worst movies ever made.
Hoskins, who didn’t know the movie was based on the video game until during the shoot, called the “nightmare” film “the worst thing I ever did” and almost died twice on set. And it turns out some other major Hollywood stars like Tom Hanks and Arnold Schwarzenegger missed a bullet in not being cast in major roles.
Originally Dustin Hoffman was interested in playing Super Mario. However, the founder of Nintendo of America Minoru Arakawa didn’t believe the Rain Man star was right for the role.
Meanwhile, Danny DeVito was offered the lead plumber and the director’s chair but turned it down. And before Hopper bagged Kooper, both Schwarzenegger and Batman star Michael Keaton were approached for the villain’s role. On top of this, Hanks was briefly attached to Luigi, however due to recent box office failures he was dropped from consideration.
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