'Angry Birds' movie set to soar in July 2016

Angry Birds will be flying into movie theaters in July 2016 with Sony announcing Wednesday that it has acquired the worldwide rights to the ubiquitous game franchise.

The 3-D CG-animated movie will be developed and financed by Rovio Entertainment, the Finnish gaming company that created "Angry Birds." John Cohen, who most recently produced Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures' "Despicable Me," will produce. 

Since its debut in December 2009, the "Angry Birds" game and its offshoots have been downloaded more than 1.7 billion times. There have been previous movie tie-ins, including "Angry Birds Rio" and "Angry Birds Star Wars," an app that went to the top of the U.S. iPhone charts two hours after its release last November. A 52-episode run of an animated series, "Angry Birds Toons," premiered in March, primarily through "Angry Birds" apps and video-on-demand platforms.

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Given how quickly fads run their course, not to mention the sheer volume of "Angry Birds" products saturating the market, one might wonder whether the franchise might be plucked clean by the time the movie arrives in theaters three years from now.

"There's definitely an opportunity to make that transition from game to movie," says Bruce Nash, box office analyst for the Numbers website. "The name recognition will get people to watch the trailer. Of course, if it just looks like it's 90 minutes of birds crashing into things, then there might be a problem."

"Angry Birds" would be the first app to make the leap from mobile device to movie theaters. Hollywood has a checkered past turning video games into films, with "Resident Evil," "Tomb Raider" and "Mortal Kombat" enjoying more success than, say, "Max Payne" and "Super Mario Bros." And don't get us started on board games.


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