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Angry Birds has Ice Age film aspirations

Rovio plans more than one movie.

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Image credit: Eurogamer

Rovio Mobile believes Angry Birds has enough "storytelling opportunities" for the once humble iPhone game to be spun into multiple movies.

Think along the lines of the Ice Age series of films, Rovio VP of franchise development Ville Heijari told Eurogamer.

"How I see our whole brand, our whole Angry Birds franchise - I definitely see the film potential as a long-term commitment," said Heijari.

"Not just the one-off flick that happened, but to really flesh out the world, build the characters, make it really engaging."

"We're not trying to imitate or copycat anybody," Heijari continued, "but if you think of examples of what has been done before, if you think of something like Ice Age: there's three movies, pretty popular - that sort of thing. Really breathe a lot of life into and flesh out the world of Angry Birds.

"We really genuinely have a lot of storytelling opportunities there. It's not all about birds slingshotting themselves!"

Ville Heijari

"We really genuinely have a lot of storytelling opportunities there. It's not all about birds slingshotting themselves! Ha! There's a lot of stuff going around the characters."

Rovio recently hired former Marvel chairman David Maisel as a "special advisor" to steer the first Angry Birds film project. "The development has actually started," revealed Ville Heijari, but is in its "very, very early stages".

In practice that means Maisel will use the "modest grant" awarded by the Finnish Film Fund to flesh-out the Angry Birds film project. "Maisel is the special advisor in Hollywood," Heijari elaborated. "He will look into what are the best and most feasible production models for us, and of course the funding and distribution and so on."

The wheels are in motion, then, but don't expect a Christmas 2012 cinematic Angry Birds release.

"If we started production today, the earliest date would be in 2014."

Ville Heijari, VP franchise development, Rovio

"If we started production today, the earliest date would be in 2014 - maybe," predicted Heijari. "When we're talking about a full feature film, that's really impossible to comment at the moment because that's really in the planning stages."

Rovio's ambitions also incorporate an Angry Birds animated series on telly. It's one of the reasons Rovio bought Finnish animation studio Kombo in the spring. "They really take our ambition there to the next level," said Heijari.

In the "best case" scenario, Heijari said Rovio would offer both Angry Bird films and Angry Birds animations.

"[An] animation series is going to be faster to produce than the movie," added Heijari. "Even if we announce that we're in production with the movie, which well, like I said, we're developing the movie we're not quite in production yet.

"Even when we eventually might announce that we've started the production of the movie, we still might end up releasing animations - an animated series first, just because the production cycles are so much shorter."

Heijari said lots of animations are piped down on demand services and online. In the future, Rovio "looks to have" an Angry Birds-specific television channel where you will be served Angry Birds animations and play Angry Birds games.

The Rovio Twitter account was recently renamed AngryBirds. It's small change indicative of a larger mindset - that Angry Birds is more than simple pig-bashing mini-game. It's a brand that's understood intimately now by 250 million people around the world, hence the plush Angry Birds toys.

Rovio may be a one-game wonder, but what wonderful success that game has had.

Angry Birds unofficially on Kinect.

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