Hed likens Rovio to The Walt Disney Studios, which began with Walt Disney’s creation of Mickey Mouse and expanded across entertainment platforms and theme parks. If the Finnish Angry Birds Land succeeds, additional parks could open around the world, tapping into the universal appeal of the Angry Birds characters; multiple theme parks in China, where Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 100 million times, are already in the works.
It’s global domination by the least likely of suspects: angry red birds with no feet.
Taking Over the Big Screen
After spearheading the sale of Marvel Entertainment to The Walt Disney Studios for $4 billion, former Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel didn’t have to work another day in his life. He got offers from everyone, but at the end of the day, the man who helped turn Marvel superheroes like Thor, Captain America and Iron Man into household names ended up joining video game maker Rovio Entertainment.
“I really owe a debt to my mother, who is 85, because she’s the one who introduced me to Angry Birds,” Maisel says. “She was playing the game on the iPad I had given her. And the more I played it, the more I realized it was not just an incredibly addictive game and a very profitable business already — it was a brand that has unlimited potential in all different types of entertainment.”
As impressive as the record 19 days it took for Marvel’s The Avengers to break $1 billion in theaters this summer, Maisel believes Angry Birds’ potential for success is even greater than any Marvel superhero.
“I’ve never seen a reaction by just carrying around an Angry Birds case [as the one] I get from fans of every age, from 3-year-olds to 85-year-olds,” Maisel says. “The task is to create and broaden the brand, and create as big a business around it as we had with Marvel. The difference here is that the gaming is the huge profit maker and the film, when it happens, will be a compliment to that.”
While the movie is still a few years out, Maisel says the team at Rovio has set the bar very high, just as they do with the games and other incarnations of the brand.
“It has to be everything that you’d expect from an Angry Birds movie as a fan of the game, plus so much more with surprises, innovative things and twists,” Maisel explains. “It’s something that we’ve worked a lot on already, and we will [continue to do so] over the next few years. It’s [going to be an] experience that you’ll say, ‘Wow, I didn’t expect that.’ ”
JOHN GAUDIOSI has covered technology and games for Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter, GamerLive and other publications for 20 years. He enjoys watching movies and playing games on his 3-D TV at his home in Raleigh, N.C.