How the Angry Birds are taking on Mickey Mouse
Rovio, the company behind Angry Birds, should be applauded for taking on Disney, writes Emma Barnett.
Rovio, the company behind, Angry Birds, the incredibly addictive mobile phone game, has announced its intention to make the movie of its most popular export in-house.
The Finnish creators of the game, in which players destroy greedy pigs using irate feather-winged creatures, have huge ambitions to make Angry Birds as much a part of pop culture as say Mickey Mouse or Super Mario.
And with the app still going strong, having been downloaded (and crucially paid for) more than 200 million times and a recent round of investment coming in at $42 million, why shouldn’t the company do what it has done, which is to buy its own animation studio and keep control of its own brand and destiny – rather than handing it over to Disney’s Pixar. The only slightly upsetting thing for fans, is the news that the film will not be completed for at least three years.
Speaking to Peter Vesterbacka, the company’s chief marketing officer, officially known as Rovio’s Mighty Eagle (it’s on his business card and everything), this week in London, he told me the movie was just one way in which the board plans to cement the cast of Angry Birds as firm parts of our culture.
“We are not just a games company. We want to become a next generation entertainment franchise,” he explained.
“Making a movie is just one part of our game plan. We are here to make Angry Birds a permanent part of pop culture – like Mickey Mouse or Mario - and if making a movie helps with that then that’s great. But it’s not like making a move is our ultimate goal.”
Vesterbacka said that companies like Disney were a great a role model for Rovio which they hoped to ape – but he still wanted Rovio to build a new entertainment franchise which was born into and for the internet age.
It’s ambitious talk which ought to be applauded. Let’s just hope for Rovio’s sake, millions of people still care about these unnamed Angry Birds in three years time and the latest technology bubble doesn’t burst taking the app generation’s favourite game with it.