After millions of downloads across countless platforms, it seems safe to say that Finnish developer Roxio’s Angry Birds is one of gaming biggest runaway hits. Now that the title has conquered the videogame world, its creators are setting their sites on a bigger pond: movies.
Rumors of an Angry Birds feature film have been circulating for some time, but Roxio’s dreams of bringing the game to a theater near you took one major step closer to fruition last week, when the company hired former Marvel Studios head David Maisel to serve as a special adviser tasked with helping guide the project through development.
Maisel, as Variety states, was key in helping Marvel make the jump from comics to films – landing half a billion dollars in financing that allowed the company to make key titles like Iron Man and playing a crucial role in the negotiations of the sale of the studio to Disney – a $4 billion dollar transaction. Roxio hopes that Maisel can work the same kind of magic for them.
Rovio CEO Mikael Hed has big plans for the company moving forward, aiming to become another Pixar instead of just a videogame studio. He’s stated that he’d like to replicate Marvel’s business strategy in order to grow the Roxio brand and move into other media space.
At first glance, Angry Birds might not seem to be movie material. The game, which is a relatively simple affair that finds players launching birds at pigs hidden inside structures (hitting the structures in the right spots causes them to collapse, thereby crushing the evil pigs), doesn’t have a deep narrative. However, in a Hollywood climate that sees studios bringing board games like Battleship and the Ouija board to the big screen, Angry Birds at least has a concept and potential characters working in its favor.
The hiring of Maisel is just the latest in a series of steps Roxio has taken to develop their game into a multimedia phenomenon. Last month, the studio bought Finnish animation studio Kombo and raised nearly $50 million in financing. They intend to use these new assets to craft a series of Angry Birds animated shorts that will introduce the characters and hopefully pave the way to the feature film.
Whether or not audiences will put down their smartphones long enough to actually watch an Angry Birds film remains to be seen, but as Maisel states, “There has been so much chatter about an Angry Birds movie, but it's now real. The process is starting now." As proof, he’s already speaking to writers and directors about tackling the project.
What do you think? Are you at all interested in seeing Angry Birds on the big screen or do you suspect this will be another in a long line of terrible game-to-movie adaptations?