Nintendo Comments on Illumination CEO Joining Its Board of Directors

In case you missed it, Nintendo nominated Illumination Entertainment founder and CEO Chris Meledandri as an outside director for its board of directors earlier this year, and recently confirmed the appointment during Nintendo's 81st annual general meeting of shareholders at the end of June. Illumination is notably involved in the creation of the upcoming animated Super Mario movie. During the Q&A portion of the meeting, which has been translated into English and shared by Nintendo, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa and Shigeru Miyamoto both commented on what, exactly, Meledandri's appointment means for the company and whether it could mean more expansion into "the field of visual content" given that the core business is hardware and software.

"Chris Meledandri is the founder of Illumination Entertainment and has experience as a producer who created numerous films including the Despicable Me franchise, which introduced the Minions," said Furukawa. "He has gained broad experience and insight as a corporate manager and in the field of entertainment, so we anticipate he will appropriately supervise our management from an objective perspective while providing valuable advice to our leadership. Mr. Meledandri has been appointed as an independent and non-executive outside director, so he will not be directly involved in execution of operation. However, we believe that his extensive experience and knowledge in the field of entertainment will have a beneficial effect on the decision-making of our board of directors."

"With regard to the visual content expansion, we are working on the Super Mario movie and have announced that other projects are also in progress," Furukawa continued. "As you pointed out, our core business is the integrated hardware-software dedicated video game platform business. But to keep that business thriving and growing, we need to create opportunities where even people who do not normally play on video game systems can come into contact with Nintendo characters. As part of this effort, visual content could be important for us."

"Although this has no direct tie with his appointment as a director, I've been working with Chris for over five years now on the Super Mario movie," added Miyamoto. "Through that relationship I think he really came to understand the Nintendo point of view. I don't think it's easy for those overseas involved in media creation to understand Nintendo's way of thinking, but Chris truly comprehends why Nintendo creates characters and visual content."

"We are working on mobile and visual content in order to expand our integrated hardware-software entertainment business globally," Miyamoto continued. "Working on mobile content reminded us again that while the Nintendo game systems may have reached some parts of the world, there are many places where they are not widespread. We started the mobile business because we felt it very important to conduct activities that encourage people to understand the Nintendo brand and come to like Nintendo. That resulted in also realizing the importance of visual content. By possessing video content and not just games, Nintendo will be able to expand its content further throughout the world and become stronger as a company. The fact that we are a video game developing company tends to create the mistaken impression that we can also create movies easily. It's true that the processes of making visual content and developing games share some of the same ways of thinking, but there are also differences. The movie business, including distribution, is in a period of transformation. Against this backdrop, we think that asking for Chris's input, as an expert with many years of experience in Hollywood, will be of great help to us in the future."


At this point, the only confirmed upcoming animated adaptation of a Nintendo property is the aforementioned Super Mario movie in the works at Illumination. You can check out all of our previous coverage of Nintendo right here.

What do you think about Nintendo's comments about Meledandri? Are you excited to see what comes of his involvement? Let us know in the comments, or feel free to reach out and hit me up directly over on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk about all things gaming!