Gamer Rovio Holds Tight To its 'Angry Birds Movie'

   May 17, 2016-Video game outfit Rovio hopes its Angry Birds property gets extended consumer popularity with the animated theatrical film adaption that Sony Pictures will release Friday. The $73 million animated movie was financed by Rovio, which keeps tight control of merchandise; ordinarily, movie distributors take control when a comic book, game or book property is translated into a movie, but not with The Angry Birds Movie.
   “Despite the birds' worldwide fame, turning the game into a box-office draw is a gamble for Sony and Rovio,” says
The owner of the Angry Birds property controls merchandise licensing and  promo tie-ins for the upcoming movie based on its video game, because it financed the film, not the movie's Hollywood distributor

a Los Angeles Times newspaper article by Ryan Faughnder. “Movies based on games and toys have traditionally struggled both creatively and commercially, especially when the source material lacked a story line or well-defined characters to draw on. The Angry Birds game, which requires a single finger to play, gave the birds no backstory, personality characteristics or clear motivations.” 
   The Los Angeles Times article continues, “And the games, while still ranked high on the iTunes app charts, are not the cultural phenomenon they were five or six years ago. Last year Rovio had to cut 260 jobs, or about a third of its workforce, because the company said it expanded too aggressively after the success of its signature game.” 
   The article, which quotes Marketing to Moviegoers author Robert Marich, cites a long list of tie-in promotional partners including McDonald’s restaurants and Ziploc bags. Indicating Sony is not in the driver’s seat, the movie soundtrack album is distributed by a Warner Music label, not Sony Music.
   On self-financing movies, entertainment property owners Hasbro toys and Lego toys have directly funded films based on their intellectual properties (IP). In addition, Marvel Comics raised movie financing, instead of relying on adaptations funded by film distributors, though that ended when Walt Disney Co. bought Marvel. On the other hand, the Harry Potter books relied on Warner Bros. for both movie financing and control of consumer product incarnations.
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