‘Angry Birds’ Set To Fly As Feature Film; David Maisel And ‘Despicable Me’ Producer John Cohen Board Pic Based On Game

Former Marvel Studios boss David Maisel came aboard Rovio as a special adviser in June 2011 to spearhead a push into film and TV, with the idea that the Iron Man and Captain America executive producer would take the same role on an Angry Birds feature film (already in the works is a 52-episode animated TV series). Now the feature has been set, with Despicable Me producer John Cohen signing on as producer, Rovio announced today. The company will finance and produce the 3D pic in house (a la Marvel’s template) and has targeted it for a summer 2016 release. Here’s the announcement:

December 11th, 2012 — Santa Monica, California — On the third anniversary of the release of Angry Birds, Rovio Entertainment announced that Despicable Me producer John Cohen has signed on as producer of the upcoming Angry Birds movie. David Maisel, former Chairman of Marvel Studios and executive producer of Iron Man, will be executive producer of the feature film, coming to theaters in summer 2016. The film will be produced and financed by Rovio Entertainment.

“John’s an exceptionally talented producer, and we’re delighted to have him join the flock,” said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio Entertainment. “With John’s hands-on producer background and David´s expertise in establishing and running his own successful studio, these two are the dream team for making a movie outside the studio system. Both professionals have the ideal skills and vision to achieve incredible things.”

John Cohen most recently produced Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures’ Despicable Me in 2010 and executive produced Illumination/Universal’s Hop in 2011. Prior to Illumination, Cohen was VP of Production at Twentieth Century Fox Animation. He worked closely with Blue Sky Studios on films including Ice Age, Robots, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who. Cohen had the idea to reimagine Alvin and the Chipmunks and developed the 2007 film.

“I’m so excited and honored to be working on this film with Mikael, David, and Rovio’s incredibly talented game developers and artists,” said Cohen. “From both an entertainment and strategic perspective, Rovio is at the forefront of game innovation and is trailblazing terrific new ways for Angry Birds fans to interact with these characters. I’ve personally spent countless hours playing the Angry Birds games over the last few years, which I can now happily justify as research for the movie.”

Following Marvel Studios’ example, which was architected by David Maisel, Rovio will produce and finance the movie outside the studio system and retain full creative control while creating innovative entertainment at the highest level of quality.

“John’s experience, expertise, and passion are perfect for the Angry Birds film and I look forward to working with him to create the best movie experience for all the fans,” said David Maisel.

The upcoming movie marks Rovio Entertainment’s first foray into feature films, though fans have already gotten an introduction to the Angry Birds world through Rovio’s games, books, consumer products, and animations. Since its debut in 2009, the Angry Birds game has been downloaded more than 1 billion times across platforms and versions. The most recent venture, Angry Birds Star Wars, soared to the top of the US iPhone charts within 2.5 hours of release.

Comments (22)

  • That’s very cool news. John Cohen is fantastic — smart choice.

    Comment by GI — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:21am PST  
  • This madness needs to stop. Just because it is popular does not mean people will pay to see this film.

    Of course, they might see it for free with the inclusion pop-up ads though.

    Comment by Mike — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:22am PST  
    • Doesn’t mean they won’t, either.

      It’s not madness, it’s business. Learn about it.

      Comment by Chad — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 11:05am PST  
  • Very interesting news. Cohen is a very smart guy, and Maisel clearly knows how to build things. Feels like game companies are taking control now.

    Comment by Kelly — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:25am PST  
  • Wow, congratulations to John Cohen! So happy to see a good guy get this property!

    Comment by Fan — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:26am PST  
  • I’ve been wondering what was going to happen with Angry Birds. Feels like everyone has been chasing the rights for a while. With the Splinter Cell news last week, I bet New Regency will try to grab this one too. Good team involved.

    Comment by Splinter — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:31am PST  
  • Go John!! Very happy to see this announcement. Brad Bird should direct.

    Comment by Like — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:33am PST  
  • We were right.

    Comment by The Mayans — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:34am PST  
  • Cohen is a real class act. Very happy to see this announcement.

    Comment by DaveR — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:42am PST  
  • Wow. Congratulations JC! This is huge news.

    Comment by Dave Golden — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:45am PST  
  • A billion downloads of the game?? Compared to 22 million for Splinter Cell. That’s apples and oranges. This could find a nice sized audience.

    Comment by Damn... — Tuesday December 11, 2012 @ 9:52am PST  
  |  More Comments

Sorry, comments are closed for this article.