For those who didn’t catch The Angry Birds Movie in theaters, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Rovio Animation are releasing the film on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray 3D combo pack and DVD on August 16. The digital version is already available.
The $73 million computer-animated movie raked in over $345.6 million worldwide, including over $107 million domestically. John Cohen, the producer on the film who previously worked on Hollywood hits such as Despicable Me and Ice Age, believes Rovio controlling the film allowed the video game adaptation to succeed where so many others have failed.
“Rovio is an entertainment company beyond just the development of all of these great games,” Cohen said. “They made a decision to finance the movie itself and stay involved in every part of the filmmaking process. Our executive producer Mikael Hed is also one of the original creators of the Angry Birds games. He was involved in every single step creatively and has a very similar comedic sensibility. It was a pleasure to be able to work with him and the team at Rovio. It’s a contrast to what other game companies have done with movie adaptations, which is option or license their property to a Hollywood studio.”
The Angry Birds games have been downloaded over 3.5 billion times, and that number includes the new Angry Birds Action! game that launched ahead of the theatrical release and unlocked exclusive in-theater content like the alternate ending of the film through an audio code. That ending is now on the Blu-ray. Cohen said the game and the millions of augmented reality Bird Codes will continue through the home entertainment window through products from Lego and at Walmart stores.
“We had great partners on board for the theatrical release, including McDonald’s, Lego, Walmart and Pez with some cool ways to use Bird Codes to unlock cool features in the game,” Cohen said. “It’s amazing to see how that type of interactivity is taking off.”
Fans can unlock more content by syncing Angry Birds Action! with the audio on the Blu-ray or digital version of the movie. The Angry Birds Action! movie integration will also extend to retail where fans can unlock an augmented reality “Hatchlings” selfie feature by scanning Bird Codes on in-store signage.
National promotional partners, including top retail and grocery brands, are teaming up with Sony to offer consumers deals through a variety of brand integrations, including Sonic Drive-Ins, Furniture of America, Mrs. Thinster’s Cookie Thins and Post Malt-O-Meal Cereals.
When developing the film, Cohen said the team wasn’t looking at this as a franchise.
“We looked at it as if it was an original animated movie,” Cohen said. “We had all the great opportunity that comes with awareness of a property of this size. Normally, when you have this type of pre-awareness property, they tend to be a Harry Potter or a comic book series, where every detail is laid out for you. With Angry Birds, there are some key things people knew about the games, but beyond that, it was more or less a blank slate. It was an exciting opportunity to tell an original story that had all of the great awareness and branding that gave us a nice head start.”
Boasting an “A” CinemaScore with viewers under age 25, the Blu-ray features more of the breakout fan-favorite, Hatchlings. Much like the Minions of Cohen’s Despicable Me, these baby birds have taken on a life of their own.
The Blu-ray has a new short film starring Hatchlings characters—The Early Hatchling Gets the Worm—about a baby bird who befriends a worm. The team created a number of short films that are also included. The birds were voiced by the kids of people on the crew, including Cohen’s 2-year-old daughter.
“The concept was to let the kids talk because they really do say the darnedest things,” Cohen said. “We did a Christmas greeting last November and asked them to sing deck the halls. None of these kids knew the words, and as they started to sing it went into this strange direction—and that was all gold for us. We animated this Christmas video and did another fun video for Easter and Mother’s Day that made it on the disc.”
There’s no word on a video game featuring these characters yet, but there will be new merchandise.
“We have discovered that since the release of the movie, Rovio has been approached by many different partners about Hatchling merchandise after the audiences saw the movie,” Cohen said. “A line of Hatchlings stuffed animals and toys and fun things is coming soon.”
While not coming soon (the first film was in development for over four years), there is an Angry Birds 2 coming to theaters.
“We’ve started to develop the sequel,” Cohen said. “As the movie was screening in the final months, we saw it play with audiences of kids and adults in theaters before we were done with it, and people found the movie emotional. We started to think what would the next step of these characters be, and the mythology. What I learned from working on Ice Age and Despicable Me is that when you have characters that have been fleshed out with comedic personalities, you can’t stop yourself from thinking: ‘What would happen if these characters were in this situation or did that?’ That happened with Angry Birds.”
Cohen considers himself a casual game player, although he became addicted to Angry Birds long before the movie project.
“It was the game that I got hooked on and played for hours at a time,” Cohen said. “I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about what would it be like if we brought these characters to life. Now I look back at all those hours as research for this.”
Cohen said Sony and Rovio are tapping into the Angry Birds gaming fan base to market the Blu-ray.
“There’s a staggering amount of people who have played the games, or at least have heard of the game,” Cohen said. “There’s such a loyal and dedicated fan community through ToonsTV, which is the No. 1 branded YouTube channel in the world, even ahead of Lego. And of course, there’s the fan community on Facebook with 26 million followers. It’s a passionate community that creates fan fiction and shares content.”
In addition to the movie, Angry Birds Toons: Season 3 Volume 1 will ship on DVD August 16. The set features 13 mini episodes of avian adventures that the whole family can enjoy. Bonus materials include three behind-the-scenes videos and character reels featuring the characters Chuck, King Pig and Matilda.