Illumination Chief Denies ‘Zelda’ Animated Movie Rumors: ‘Not Sure Where That Came From’

During an interview with TheWrap at the Annecy International Animation Festival, Chris Meledandri, the founder and CEO of Illumination and the producer of their acclaimed films such as “Sing” and “Despicable Me,” addressed recent speculation regarding potential adaptations of beloved video game franchises. Amidst the success of “The Super Mario Bros. Movie,” a collaboration between Illumination and Nintendo that grossed over $1.3 billion worldwide, anticipation has been brewing about future projects between the animation studio and the gaming giant.

Rumors had circulated suggesting that Illumination and Nintendo might be working on bringing “The Legend of Zelda” to the big screen. However, Meledandri swiftly refuted these claims, expressing surprise and confusion about their origin. “I don’t know where that came from,” he stated, implying that while the collaboration between the two companies had been fruitful, no concrete plans for a Zelda adaptation were in place.

Meledandri acknowledged the speculation, attributing it to the success of their previous collaboration and his current position on Nintendo’s board of directors. This alignment of interests has naturally sparked curiosity among fans and industry observers about potential future projects. Nonetheless, Meledandri emphasized that the reports were merely speculative and that discussions between Nintendo and Illumination were ongoing but without any specific focus on a Zelda adaptation at that time.

The atmosphere surrounding potential collaborations between Illumination and Nintendo was further highlighted by Benjamin Renner, the director of Illumination’s upcoming film “Migration,” who humorously commented on the frequency of such rumors. “I see one report every week,” Renner quipped, suggesting that speculation about potential projects between the two companies was commonplace in the industry.

Despite the denial regarding “The Legend of Zelda,” Meledandri’s acknowledgment of his position on Nintendo’s board and the continued success of their collaboration hinted at a bright future for the partnership. This sentiment was underscored by the broader relationship between Illumination’s parent company, Universal, and Nintendo, with the successful opening of Super Nintendo World lands at theme parks in Japan and California, and plans for a third in Orlando in 2025. Thus, while the specific details of future projects remained uncertain, the synergy between Illumination and Nintendo appeared poised to continue yielding exciting creative endeavors beyond the realm of the Mushroom Kingdom.

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