Rovio Entertainment plans to release a film in three years. We just don't know if consumers will care.
One could make the argument that Angry Birds has never been more popular. If anything, creator Rovio Entertainment has never been busier. In 2012 alone, we saw new updates for the content-rich effort, Angry Birds Seasons, the launch of critically acclaimed Angry Birds Space and spin-off, Bad Piggies. Meanwhile, the tie-in of tie-ins, Angry Birds Star Wars, has occupied the number one paid iPhone/iPad game slot since it debuted in early November.
Now factor in the high volume of merchandise, from plush toys and smartphone cases at the local supermarket, to play sets at Toys R Us, and 2013 would seem like the perfect year to launch an animated film, preferably in the spring and summer months, right alongside the likes of Iron Man 3, Man of Steel and The Smurfs 2.
Instead, Rovio announced a summer 2016 launch, oddly enough, and we can't help but feel such a decision is a bit presumptuous. As a public relations maneuver, it worked phenomenally well. Enter "summer movies 2016" into a search engine, and the first articles that appear involve Angry Birds, so if Rovio was after valuable search engine optimization (SEO), it smashed an Internet homerun.
That aside, and when we break this down into dollars and cents, Rovio clearly bet the proverbial farm that its Angry Birds franchise will only grow in popularity, to the point where, by 2016, rabid fans won't be able to resist bursting through movie theater doors for midnight and weekend showings, or rushing to stream it via Netflix, if it goes straight to video.
Hey, who are we to stomp all over the studio's confidence? It clearly thinks the Angry Birds brand will approach iconic levels of intellectual property greatness, on par with the likes of Star Wars itself. After all, we know Star Wars Episode VII is in the works, but we don't necessary know the exact day the film will launch, and that's perfectly fine, since Star Wars has more than 30 years of history behind it.
Angry Birds, not so much. Video game wise, Rovio managed to keep its flock relevant, thanks to increased market penetration and smart Hollywood deals, the most recent involving Lucasfilm. At the same time, consumers are fickle. What was popular in 2010 and 2011 isn't necessary huge in 2012. There's no evidence to suggest that Angry Birds is headed towards IP immortality, and there are too many "what ifs" between now and 2016. For all we know, something better may come along. There may even come a day when an Angry Birds game doesn't occupy that aforementioned number one App Store slot, or even sit within the top 10. If that were to happen in a year, what happens to the movie? Would it happen at all? Will the public even care?
With these questions staring back at Rovio, 2016 may not have been the best year to consider bringing an Angry Birds flick to the big screen. If anything, it should have marked the third movie in a trilogy. From where we stand, the sooner that film arrives, the better.