December 14th, 2012 09:36 PM
HELSINKI – Finnish mobile gaming company Rovio said on Friday that a movie based on its hit game “Angry Birds” could result in the group establishing an animation studio rivalling global giant Walt Disney.
Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed told AFP that the animated 3D film, which will not reach cinemas until the summer of 2016, could lead to the company setting up an animated movie studio that would compete with California-based Walt Disney Animation Studios.
“If this goes very well, that is what is going to happen. Certainly we are structuring this in a way so that it’s possible for us to continue to produce more movies after this one,” he said.
“In March, we are going to start rolling out our worldwide series of short animations, which will be available through digital and traditional channels.”
Rovio is aiming high with the film version of the smartphone game, hiring John Cohen, producer of computer-animated comedy “Despicable Me” to produce it, and David Maisel, former chairman of Marvel Studios, as an executive producer.
The 3D film is financed mostly by the company itself to ensure it has complete control over the end product.
“It’s about creative control and about the financial upside as well,” said Hed.
“We have a strong balance sheet ourselves and therefore partly paying it from our own cash balance and partly through regular movie financing instruments.”
The company, which like Nokia is based in Espoo outside Helsinki, is not worried that interest in “Angry Birds” will have cooled off by the time of its release, almost four years from now.
“We are doing so much around the ‘Angry Birds’ as a franchise that I am sure that we will not disappear from the public eye until then,” he said.
Rovio said in October it would open its first theme park in Asia next year at a site near Shanghai as it builds on the brand of the hugely popular game.
“Angry Birds Land” will be the firm’s third theme park after one in Finland and another in Britain.