Rovio Entertainment’s popular smartphone game “Angry Birds” has already been commemorated as one of the most successful mobile apps in history in everything from gummy candy and green-tinted pork rinds to theme parks that let visitors hurl stuffed animal versions of the titular animals with slingshots. Now those same Angry Birds are flying onto the silver screen.
The Finnish video game developer announced Tuesday that it has hired John Cohen to produce a 3D computer-generated animated film for the “Angry Birds” franchise, to debut in theaters in the summer of 2016. Cohen has previously worked as a producer for other CGI films including “Despicable Me” and served in other capacities on several of the “Ice Age” films. He is set to work alongside David Maisel, the former chairman of Marvel Studios, who is credited as the executive producer for “Angry Birds.”
“John’s an exceptionally talented producer, and we’re delighted to have him join the flock,” Rovio chief executive officer Mikael Hed said in a statement Tuesday. “With John’s hands-on producer background and David’s expertise in establishing and running his own successful studio, these two are the dream team for making a movie outside the studio system. Both professionals have the ideal skills and vision to achieve incredible things.”
Rovio also said it plans to produce and finance the movie independently. For a studio that recently partnered with LucasArts and its parent company, The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), to produce a version of “Angry Birds” based on “Star Wars” -- the most successful entertainment franchise of all time -- this is a bold statement of its continued independence from Silicon Valley and Hollywood trends alike. While some analysts have begun to suspect that “Angry Birds” is a one-hit wonder, Rovio is testing the boundaries of how far that one hit can carry it in the coming years.
“I’m so excited and honored to be working on this film with Mikael, David and Rovio’s incredibly talented game developers and artists,” Cohen said in a statement. “From both an entertainment and strategic perspective, Rovio is at the forefront of game innovation and is trailblazing terrific new ways for Angry Birds fans to interact with these characters. I’ve personally spent countless hours playing the Angry Birds games over the last few years, which I can now happily justify as research for the movie.”
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The first “Angry Birds” was released just three years ago. Rovio released “Angry Birds Star Wars” earlier this month to rave reviews.