By Gary Symons
TLL Editor in Chief
It had to happen eventually, and now it has.
Nintendo has announced over its X (Twitter) account that it will produce a live action film based on The Legend of Zelda, in partnership with Sony Pictures.
The news was shared by none other than the equally legendary creator and game developer Shigeru Miyamoto, who took to X to write, “This is Miyamoto. I have been working on the live-action film of The Legend of Zelda for many years now with Avi Arad-san, who has produced many mega hit films.
“I have asked Avi-san to produce this film with me, and we have now officially started the development of the film with Nintendo itself heavily involved in the production. It will take time until its completion, but I hope you look forward to seeing it.”
There’s no doubt of that. The Legend of Zelda series of video games is among the most popular in the world, and on Nintendo is the second most popular in terms of sales, right after the Mario Bros. franchise, having sold roughly 150 million games since 1986. However, the Zelda fan base is arguably more rabid about the game, almost ensuring some major box office returns if the movie is well made. The Zelda franchise is arguably more focused on story-telling as well.
Its latest iteration, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, sold 10 million copies in three days when it was released last May, making it the fastest-selling Zelda game of all time. Its predecessor Breath of the Wild is the best-selling game in the series, having sold an estimated 30 million copies overall.
This news also follows the immense success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which was a huge box office success earning more than a $1.36 billion dollars globally earlier this year. A well crafted Zelda movie would be expected to exert similar pull on fans.
Tasked with turning Zelda into a live action flick will be director Wes Ball, who previously ran the Maze Runner trilogy and is also directing the upcoming film Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes.
Miyamoto himself was also involved in the Super Mario Bros. movie, with that success likely tipping him over the edge on the idea of producing a Zelda film.
“The reason we were so resistant and careful to adapt our games into movies is because in video games there is always a player, who overcomes challenges and fights their way through,” Miyamoto told Variety in an April cover story. “Their struggle—redoing the levels over and over—is all part of it.”
The adaptation of video games into movies was long considered a risky venture, as so many of those films failed both financially and critically until recent years. However, in the past few years both the Mario Bros. movie and the films based on Sonic the Hedgehog were massive hits at the box office, and garnered rave reviews from both critics and moviegoers. Miyamoto told Variety in his recent interview that learning how to make films based on video games has been a work in progress for the industry.
“Just following the plot points of the video games will never work as a movie,” he explained. “Without the involvement of the player, it won’t meet expectations.”
Plot and casting details are still under wraps, but fans are already making wild guesses about who could play the title character Link, with many placing their bets on Tom Holland, star of the latest Spider-Man series.