‘Angry Birds’ Creator Releases Movie Cast, Fires Employees

Rovio, the creator of Angry Birds, is reportedly slashing approximately 130 jobs even as it releases the first look at the Angry Birds movie, which is due for release two summers from now. The concurrent moves are causing speculation that the company isn’t seeing the amount of success for the movie and other products it had hoped for. On Thursday, it seems a Rovio CEO admitted as much.

The first Angry Birds app was created for Apple devices in 2009, and has since grown and been made available for other phones and additional platforms. It’s been seen as one of the most popular mobile gaming apps of the decade, and toys and clothing based on the characters are also popular.

Angry Birds toys popular, but company cuts jobs.`

Now, a movie based on the game is in the works, and the cast list has just been released to the public. KDrama Stars reports that the animated Angry Birds is due for release on July 1, 2016, and boasts such names as Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage and Saturday Night Live alum Jaason Sudeikas, Bill Hader, and Maya Rudolph in the voice cast.

The first peek at some imagery from the Angry Birds movie was also shared this week.

Despite Angry Birds being a top-rated paid app, and the success of other products and anticipation for the Angry Birds movie, in a blog post on Thursday, the company announced it would be cutting up to 16 percent of its workforce, firing as many as 130 employees.

The post explains that hiring was done with expectations of a higher rate of growth than the Angry Birds creators actually saw, and indicates a sadness for the firings.

CNET notes that the company saw profits of nearly $34 million in 2013, which may sound like a massive number, but is actually less than half of the profit the company behind Angry Birds made in the previous year.

Facing decreased profits, it’s little wonder the company decided to cut costs. They say they’ll be focusing more on three key areas: games, media, and consumer products.

Angry Birds has faced difficulties before now, such as when there were rumors that the NSA was using it to spy on gamers, and when concerns were raised that some hacked or faked versions might contain malware to rip off users.

The Angry Birds movie has an exciting cast, but with release still nearly two years in the future, Rovio might have made a wise move in scaling back until profits return to previous summits.

[photo credit: Harshit Sekhon via photopin cc, Twitter]