After the success of Batman Begins, movie studios started to realise that you could make a serious and good superhero film and still make millions of dollars. People wanted to see what made the hero tick, what made him the man he becomes.
In a moment of money making genius, the head of Warner Brothers bought the rights to Super Mario: The Movie. “It’s the biggest selling game of all time!” he told his secretary.
“But they already made a movie. It was a massive flop.” She explained.
“Yes” he said “But that was before Batman Begins. All we need is a British director.”
As luck would have it, I was on a tour of the Warner Brothers studio at the time. Whilst walking and reading a tourist map I bumped into Mr. Warner himself.
“I do apologise” I said “Could you tell me where the bathroom is?”
“You’re British!” he cried.
“I have as much right to use the bathroom as any other, sir.” I told him.
“No, no, what I mean to say is would you like to direct a movie?”
“I don’t know.” I said “What’s it about?”
“Super Mario, the biggest selling game of all time!”
“Ah, I was always more of a Sonic man myself. What’s the budget?” I asked.
“$100,000,000” he said, straightening his tie and slicking back his hair. I could see that he was a man of vast resources. Testing my luck I told him:
“I couldn’t direct a backseat blowjob on my camera phone for that. I wouldn’t dare attempt it for a dollar less than 250 million. Call me when you’re ready to make a real movie.” I walked off, not daring to look back to see if my bluff had worked.
A minute later I felt a hand on my shoulder. The out of breath executive said “Ok, ok, 250, but you are British, right?”
“As British as Bob Hoskins in gravy.”
Within a month I was on the set of "Mario: Prologue" and had managed to negotiate myself complete creative control, as well as an extra $50 million to budget.
Eighteen months later the film premiered at Sundance, but nobody knew what to think. A month later it hit cinemas worldwide. Time Magazine called it the flop of the millennium.
It seems to me that people just weren’t ready for a three hour superhero origin film that focussed on the protaganist’s move from carpentry into plumbing and his struggle at plumbing school as he tries to raise his younger brother.
Roger Ebert criticised my decision to shoot it entirely in Italian without subtitles, calling it “pretentious beyond belief”, and said that the whole Jesus/Carpenter/Messiah-Complex metaphor was uncomfortably forced.
I guess most people just weren’t interested in the internal struggle of a man ready to give up a well paying job to learn the trade of a higher paying job. Barry Norman called it “The Pursuit of Greed."
When the studio asked how I managed to spend $300 million without having a single action sequence or any CGI I knew that I wasn’t working for true artists.
"Catering ain't cheap" I told them.
"It hasn't even taken $10,000,000 wordlwide after four weeks!" they cried.
"Well I'm sure when people see the film they'll all rush out and buy the game"
"But they've already got the game. It's the biggest selling game of all time!" they said.
"Then I think it's about time we started talking about my raise"