Angry Birds probably isn’t the first to spring to mind when thinking about possible video game movie adaptations. Addictive and fun though it may be, Angry Birds features only marginally more plot and character development than Pacman - in fact, much of the appeal lies on the joyous simplicity of the game’s mechanics.
Perhaps the fact that Angry Birds doesn’t already have an ongoing story arc makes it all the more appealing to movie producers, since an Angry Birds big screen adaptation would more or less have free rein to build its own characters and story around the central conceit of birds vs. pigs.
Then again, the fact that the Angry Birds series has had over 1.7 billion downloads across all platforms since the release of the original game – and the small fact that total revenue from the franchise doubled from 2011 to 2012 – probably had something to do with it as well.
The Angry Birds movie, which is being produced and financed by the game’s studio, Rovio Entertainment, has now been acquired by Sony Pictures for exclusive worldwide distribution in 2016, and veteran animated movie producer John Cohen was brought aboard to produce the film earlier this year. SlashFilm now reports that Cohen has chosen Jon Vitti, whom he describes as “one of the funniest writers I know,” to pen the screenplay for Angry Birds, and LucasFilm Animation’s Catherine Winder is also set to co-produce with Cohen and executive producer David Maisel.
Vitti was part of the production and writing team for The Simpsons for many years, working as a story editor on the first few seasons and writing a couple of dozen episodes that include classics like “Bart the Genius,” “Cape Feare” and “Lisa’s Substitute.” He was also one of the screenwriters for The Simpsons Movie, and worked as both a producer and writer on other TV shows like King of the Hill and The Office.
Unfortunately, his most recent feature writing credits – which also mark his first attempt at adapting an existing successful series – are Alvin and the Chipmunks and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, which means that it’s advisable to keep a wary eye on his latest family movie project.
Does Vitti’s involvement mean that Spider-Pig will join the cast of Angry Birds as the primary antagonist? Probably not, but we can dream.
Angry Birds will be launched into theaters on July 1, 2016.