If one were to search for a single intellectual property that exemplifies the current era, you can do much worse than Angry Birds. A simple-to-learn-but-challenging-to-master video game propelled to glory by the rapid rise of smart phones, Angry Birds is a genuine cultural phenomenon. Each iteration of the game (especially its most recent crossover with Star Wars) tops the best-seller charts for both phone apps and video games in general. Angry Birds‘ colorful characters adorn everything from children’s clothing to umbrellas.
Considering all of this, it came as no surprise last year when it was reported that Rovio Entertainment – the studio behind the blockbuster mobile game – had hired Marvel Studios’ David Maisel to executive produce an Angry Birds feature film. Now, the proposed film has locked down a tentative release schedule and a full producer, placing it even more solidly on the track to fruition.
Coming Soon reports that a 3-D animated Angry Birds has been set to debut during the summer of 2016. John Cohen, a prolific producer of animated and family-oriented films, has been brought onboard to produce the film. Rovio intends to finance and produce Angry Birds outside the usual studio system, finding a distributor only after the film is finished. With Maisel securing funding for the project, it looks as if Rovio will be able to pull this ambitious endeavor off.
The addition of John Cohen to the production gives Angry Birds an even greater sense of momentum than when Rovio hired Maisel. Cohen most recently shepherded Despicable Me to box office success, but has also been the backing behind Ice Age: The Meltdown, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Horton Hears a Who! While not all of these titles inspire confidence in the eventual narrative quality of Angry Birds, they certainly speak to Cohen’s ability to craft films that cater to a younger audience.
With Angry Birds‘ current hold on the global cultural consciousness (especially among children), an animated film based on the property is more or less a no-brainer. No matter the quality or content of the movie, the sheer popularity of the source material would guarantee a massive return…but only if the film were released tomorrow, or even next year. The proposed 2016 release date makes things somewhat more tricky.
For all its quirky elegance, Angry Birds has the feel of an ephemeral cultural property – one that is fondly remembered but rarely survives long beyond its particular moment. If the proposed Angry Birds film were to be released even in 2014, it would probably still be within the safety zone of its relevance. However, a 2016 release places Angry Birds almost four years away, which can be an absolute epoch in terms of cultural impact. This is especially true of its target audience, which may have already shifted into a different demographic by the time the film is released.
If anything, the far-off release date indicates that Rovio Entertainment is determined to play the long game with its currently beloved property. The company’s determination to self-finance and produce an Angry Birds film indicates that it is willing to gamble its future in an arena with which it isn’t familiar (a strategy that blew up in the face of RPG-producer Squaresoft with Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within). In order for this gambit to pay off, Rovio will need to work hard to maintain the cultural cache of Angry Birds in the intervening years. If the summer of 2016 dawns with a public sick of and/or apathetic to the property, a movie based on it will not work out.
Angry Birds‘ long production timeline and eminent production team make it a film to watch. Its current massive popularity among kids may just make it a benchmark for their generation. One has to wonder whether it will join the ranks of such beloved nostalgia flicks as the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or half-forgotten detritus like The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.
Angry Birds is currently set to bombard theaters in summer of 2016.
Source: Coming Soon