The Super Mario Bros. Movie Hired Strippers For One Memorable Scene

The 1993 Super Mario Bros. included real strippers as extras.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

super mario bros

The animated Super Mario Bros. Movie is currently setting records. Along the way, it knocked off every Disney animated film from the box office charts, exacting revenge 30 years after the House of Mouse hamstrung the first Mario movie. Insider reports that John Leguizamo, the original Luigi, claims the first film was going to be much darker before Disney changed direction, but the nightclub scene still included real strippers in very little clothing as a taste of the original R-rated version.

John Leguizamo explained that the Boom Boom Bar sequence, filled with North Carolina strippers, was hated by Disney when executives saw that it was included in the film’s final cut, even after toning down the script. The Menu star claims Disney tried to tone it down in any way possible, from using rudimentary CGI to changing angles. The result was one of many examples of how the doomed Super Mario Bros. movie was one of the most troubled productions in Hollywood.

The kid-friendly film that was finally released in theaters did not resemble the original script, which at one point, was to resemble Die Hard, complete with a Bruce Willis cameo. Another version of the Super Mario Bros. movie would pay tribute to the best episode of the animated series, “The Toad Warrior,” which bore some resemblance to Mad Max: The Road Warrior.

Though it still included strippers, the end result also included dumb gags and a stripped-down plot, removing most of what the cast and crew were excited about in the first place. Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo dealt with the disappointing Super Mario Bros. production by day drinking, resulting in a van crash that broke Hoskins’ hand. Other stars, including Dennis Hopper, took out their anger and frustration on the crew.

Joining Hopper in being frustrated were the directors, Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel, who, in the words of the Violent Night star, were “butting heads” with Disney. The family-friendly company bought the rights to the film weeks before production started, hence the changes, even if Nintendo was on board with the dark and gritty movie. Fans at the time spoke with their wallets, as Super Mario Bros. was a catastrophic failure at the box office.

Lately, Super Mario Bros. has been gaining a cult following, including Quentin Tarantino. The legendary director hosted a screening at this theater before the animated film’s release, and the audience gave the movie a standing ovation. The dark, gritty tone is what modern audiences love about the derided film, with many now praising it for daring to try something different with the classic franchise.

All that being said, the original Super Mario Bros. was a flop, while Chris Pratt and Charlie Day’s new film is a blockbuster dominating at the theater every day since it was released. John Leguziamo’s insights into how R-rated the original film was going to be is still fascinating, and a gritty, dark reboot released today would be a huge hit.