If you thought it was cute/funny/dumb that Rovio was working so hard to translate their mobile video game phenomenon into a hit animated film, prepare to amplify those feelings exponentially. Rovio has made what the industry calls a “not fuckin’ around move” and hired the architect of Marvel’s contemporary movie empire to engineer a new media shingle centered around a cellphone video game that’s been downloaded a quarter of a billion times. Angry Birds –which I still enjoy on a daily, toliet-oriented basis– has been scratching the surface of its potential with home games and toys, but Rovio feels the franchise could be the center of a whole new media monolith generating games, toys, feature films, and more from a new family entertainment thinktank that would merge the popularity of Pixar with the scale of Marvel.
David Maisel is the aforementioned corporate deal-maker, and he’s responsible for the development of Marvel into its own movie studio, and the wider company’s acquisition by Disney. That series of events represents one of the largest scale one-two-punches in the entertainment industry’s history, and his name is still at the top of every major Marvel Studios film. Whether or not he’s being brought on to develop a similar chain of events for Rovio remains to be seen, but in the meantime Rovio is actively gearing up for their Angry Birds feature film, purchasing animation studios and courting new investment capital left and right. The plan is to proceed the feature with short films, and then to independently produce the full-length film with an eye towards partnering with a major distributor down the road. Naturally the original product, which exists perpetually alongside the genitals of nearly every smartphone owner on the planet, will be aggressively leveraged to push the other endeavors. Captive audiences and all…
Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio, has never been subtle or restrained about describing his vision for his company, and comparisons to Pixar, Marvel, and even Aardman Animation fly fast and loose with him. It sounds a bit melodramatic, but if the guy really wants to be at the center of something like that then I’m all for it. There’s nothing wrong with taking the Angry Birds aesthetic and making a film out of it, or making your company the center for more properties that melt the game/film line. If Hed really wants to accomplish this though, he needs to make one specific goal paramount: acquiring writers who give a shit about story and character. From the very start Rovio will have to make their number one priority the nurturing of a collective of talented writers and artists with their hearts on their sleeves and solid structure on their brains. You need a new generation of Birds, Lasseters, and Stantons at the center of this to make something truly special.
Priorities Mr. Hed. Priorities. It’s a hard dynamic to replicate, but it has to be the goal.
So are we witnessing the birth of a new major force in the creative animation game, or a whole bunch of hot air? Tell me what you think on twitter @rennbrown, on the message board, or in the comments below.
Source | Variety