Nintendo
Super Mario. Reuters

Japanese videogames maker Nintendo Co on Thursday said it would partner with U.S. film studio Illumination Entertainment to develop a movie using its Super Mario Bros characters.

The project will be produced by Chris Meledandri, Founder and CEO of Illumination and Shigeru Miyamoto, Representative Director, Fellow of Nintendo, the company said in a statement.

The film will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo and distributed theatrically worldwide by Universal Pictures.

With this project, Nintendo aims to expand beyond gaming consoles business and diversify revenue.

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On Wednesday, the company reported its biggest third-quarter operating profit in eight years, as global sales of its new Switch console soared in the runup to Christmas.

Nintendo also has raised its operating profit forecast to 160 billion yen for the year ending March 31 from 120 billion yen, versus analysts' estimate of around 144 billion yen.

Sales of the Switch, a hybrid between a home console and a handheld machine, hit 14.86 million for the period since launch last March to the end of December.

The company expects Switch console sales to further rise to 20 million units or more next year starting April.