Sony Pictures Entertainment has won the exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the eagerly anticipated Angry Birds animated film, making it one of the most high-profile deals of the year. The 3D film is being developed, produced, and financed by Rovio Entertainment and will be released worldwide by Sony Pictures on July 1, 2016. Several major studios pursued the global film rights in recent weeks, with Sony Pictures Entertainment emerging as the winner.
Michael Lynton, Chairman & CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Amy Pascal, Co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Entertainment jointly announced their partnership today. John Cohen and David Maisel - producer of Despicable Me and executive producer of David Maisel, respectively - are both on board for the new Angry Birds feature film. Cohen will serve as producer and Maisel is executive producer.
Here's what Rovio CEO Mikael Hed had to say about the project in a statement.
"Sony impressed us with their great attitude, determination, and professionalism. They convinced us that we have found the right partners and team to help us market and distribute our first motion picture. Michael, Amy, Jeff Blake, Sony's marketing and distribution head, and their teams will be the best possible collaborators as we get set to take our franchise to the next level."
Sony's Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal also released a joint statement.
"Every studio in town would love to add Angry Birds to their slate. There are few titles out there that bring this kind of excitement, brand awareness and built-in audience to the table. We're thrilled to be distributing this film and we hope this is just the beginning of what will be a long relationship with Rovio as we look for ways to work on future projects together."
"We are very excited to join with Sony Pictures in presenting this movie to the world in 2016 and we will have many more announcements as we begin production in the coming months."
Angry Birds is one of the world's biggest entertainment franchises, starting in 2009 with the original mobile game that remains the number one paid app of all time. Angry Birds has expanded rapidly into entertainment, publishing, and licensing to become a beloved international brand.
Angry Birds has been praised for its great value and simple, casual gameplay. Players use a slingshot to launch birds at green pigs in an attempt to get their eggs back, with the game setting the model for what is possible in terms of game development and commercial success. To date, the Angry Birds and Bad Piggies games have been downloaded more than 1.7 billion times across platforms and versions.
The upcoming movie marks Rovio Entertainment's first foray into feature films, although fans have already been introduced to the Angry Birds world with the weekly Angry Birds Toons animated series. Rovio launched the series in March through its Angry Birds apps as well as on select video-on-demand channel providers, Smart TVs, connected devices, and on select TV networks around the world. Paving the way for a full-length feature film, Angry Birds Toons has been a massive success for Rovio clocking in over 150 million views from the Angry Birds apps alone within the first six weeks.
While known for distributing world renowned motion picture franchises such as Spider-Man, Sony Pictures has been building a strong reputation in contemporary animation through its house production unit, Sony Pictures Animation, and hit films including Hotel Transylvania, The Smurfs, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Surf's Up, Open Season, and Aardman's Arthur Christmas and The Pirates! Band of Misfits.