Nintendo to develop 'Zelda' movie in latest entertainment push

The logo of the Nintendo is displayed at Nintendo Tokyo, the first-ever Nintendo official store in Japan, during a press preview in Tokyo

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) -Nintendo said on Wednesday it will develop a live-action film of long running franchise "The Legend of Zelda" in the Kyoto-based firm's latest push beyond its core gaming business.

Nintendo scored a runaway success with its animated "Super Mario Bros" movie this year, which has underscored the box-office appeal of video game adaptations and helped drive demand for its aging Switch console.

Shares jumped 6%, a day after Nintendo reported it sold 6.84 million Switch units in the first half of the financial year, supported by incremental hardware updates and titles featuring its popular roster of characters.

The "Zelda" film will be produced by "Super Mario" creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Avi Arad, the veteran producer of movies such as "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse".

The two men have been working on an adaptation of the "Zelda" franchise for many years but the movie will take time, according to posts on social media by Nintendo.

The "Zelda" film will be co-financed by Nintendo and Sony, which is also meeting success in adapting game franchises, and directed by Wes Ball, whose movies including the upcoming "Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes".

Nintendo said on Tuesday it had sold 19.5 million units of the latest "Zelda" game at September-end as the series continues to deliver hits almost 40 years after its first instalment.

While gaming remains Nintendo's core profit driver, sales in its mobile and intellectual property related business more than doubled to 55 billion yen ($365.86 million) in the first half of the current financial year.

The "Zelda" movie development comes at a time of renewed appetite for adaptations of Japanese franchises globally, with examples including Netflix's recently launched adaptation of long running pirate manga series "One Piece".

($1 = 150.3300 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Sandra Maler and Christopher Cushing)