Upon its international opening on May 13, Sony has reported a revenue of $43 million for The Angry Birds Movie in 74 markets, with 37 of them garnering the No. 1 box office slot. This has given the movie based on the hit mobile game a record May opening for an original animated film, topping the record previously set by The Lego Movie by 20 percent in the same markets. While The Angry Birds Movie is yet to be released in the U.S., this news bodes well for what seems to be a gamble by the Finnish company Rovio Entertainment.
The movie was written by John Vitti, animated by Sony Pictures Imageworks, and stars the voices of Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Kate McKinnon, Sean Penn, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Bill Hader, and Peter Dinklage. It’s also the debut film of directors Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis. While it’s now showing in Finland, its release in the U.S. is on May 20.
The Angry Birds Movie was first announced by Sony and Rovio Entertainment back in May 2013, back when Angry Birds was still in the midst of its popularity. The mobile game debuted on the Apple iOS back in December 2009 and on Google Android on September 2010, which meant it had already been there for more than three years when the movie got announced. It was so big back then that an Angry Birds theme park opened in China and an Angry Birds Store in Finland, showing just how hot it was as an intellectual property at one point.
That fame as since waned as the mobile game franchise’s staying power has diminished, and the animated film took a good bit of time to produce. Three years after its announcement, the release of The Angry Birds Movie seems to be out of place at first, but its recent success suggests that Angry Birds may still have a bit of magic left. Rovio Entertainment put $73 million of its own money into making the movie, which is indeed a big sum invested in what seems to be a faded brand.
Rovio has since released 13 Angry Birds games on mobile platforms in the past seven years, with more recent titles being based on other franchises such as Star Wars and Transformers. Both stiff competition in the mobile gaming market and oversaturation with numerous toys and other merchandise had gradually turned audiences cold on Angry Birds in recent years. Rovio has since struggled, having laid off more than a third of its workforce and reported a loss of $14.7 million in 2015, mostly due to making The Angry Birds Movie.
However, The Angry Birds Movie has already knocked Civil War off as No. 1 in the box office for some international markets, signaling what may be to come once the animated movie debuts in more countries in the coming week. If truly successful, it could mean the second wind of Angry Birds for Rovio Entertainment, which has been languishing since the heydays of its once-coveted franchise.
[Image via Sony Pictures]