During the Q&A that followed, director Rich Moore was asked about the many classic game cameos seen in the first trailer and whether there were any others he wanted to include in the movie, but couldn't because of rights issues.
"Why would I talk about that certain mustachioed plumber guy?" he responded. "And his brother, who wanted more money?"That translates to no screen time for Mario and Luigi.
Unless it was just for humor, that wording probably suggests Nintendo wanted a substantial fee to allow its Super Mario Bros. characters to appear.
Not cool. On both sides. Nintendo should have just let it go (free publicity for the franchise) but Disney could also have paid up (bragging rights are worth whatever Nintendo was asking).
Trouble with rights clearances is, of course, not new.
Mattel, you might recall, didn't allow Barbie to appear in Toy Story, before having a change of heart for Pixar's second and third installments. More recently, Sesame Workshop refused permission for an Elmo cameo in Disney's The Muppets.