Angry Birds is the most addictive mobile videogame since Tetris and, my personal favorite, Trace. Created by the Finnish company Rovio, the game has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and sold over six-and-a-half million downloads worldwide since its inception (and that’s not even including the eleven million downloads for the demo version).
Now we're getting word that a few of those six-and-a-half million downloads might have been studio executives - who want to make Angry Birds into a fully feathered film property.
If you're unfamiliar with the game, it's a fairly simple concept: You control a nation of birds whose eggs have been stolen by a bunch of big, fat, greedy pigs—literally. As a means of murderous vengeance, you decide that the best recourse is to slingshot yourselves en masse into each and every one of the egg-snatching swine and their homes, kamikaze-style. Basically, it’s an allegory for the American Revolution, which was also about the British stealing our delicious eggs, if I recall correctly.
According to Variety, Rovio wants to transform its Angry Birds mobile property into a massive franchise across all manner of platforms including television, comic books, toys, and yes, even major motion pictures. Apparently, the game company’s founders have been pitching and negotiating with a wide array of Hollywood studios before deciding which offer best suits their game plan. (Get it, game plan?)
Judging by the recent influx of casual game to film adaptations, including Zynga's Mafia Wars, it sounds as though the mobile market could be the new Hollywood goldmine. The only problem is, mobile video games, by their very nature, have a terribly limited lifespan. They’re short. They’re sweet. They’re meant to be played on the bus, on the train, to pass the time while you wait for your parents to stop bickering, and so forth. They’re so simple, in terms of gameplay and appearance, that they pop out of the social subconscious just as fleetingly as they popped in.
And yet, Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Mobile, is ambitious. He wants to mold the Angry Birds brand into something as recognizable as anything Pixar ever made:
“Time and again, [Pixar takes] an unknown brand and makes it big.”
The only problem with that logic is Pixar’s brand is Pixar. They don’t need anything else - and even before they were established, with Toy Story, Pixar’s brand was Disney. It also didn't hurt that they created the first entirely computer-animated feature length movie. Angry Birds’ brand is, “Hey, did you hear about that iPhone game where you can catapult birds at pigs?”
Those pigs think they're so smart...
Considering most videogame movies have been deemed failures in one way or another—critically, in the case of the Resident Evil series, as well as financially and critically, in the case of almost every other videogame movie in existence—it’s hard to imagine an actual movie (let alone television series, comic book, et cetera) being made out of a videogame with a back-story so minimal, it’s told in less than five seconds before the game even begins.
Having said that, Angry Birds is incredibly quirky and undeniably funny, and the art of cinema has proven in the past year alone that it can take very short, very simple stories—Where the Wild Things Are, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs—and turn them into fantastic, full-length films.
Check out this hilarious game trailer for an idea of what a potential Angry Birds movie might be like:
According to Hed, before any movies and TV shows can be made, Rovio plans to continue making Angry Birds sequels and ports.
In the meantime, check out our list of 1001 Ridiculous (but Possible) Upcoming Video Game Movies, then look for the vengeful, vigilante fowl of Angry Birds on the Android, Blackberry, Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, and even PlayStation 3.