Rovio said on Tuesday that Despicable Me producer John Cohen has signed on as the producer of an Angry Birds 3D CG-animated feature film slated to hit theaters in Summer 2016. Joining the project will be David Maisel, former Chairman of Marvel Studios and executive producer of Iron Man, who will serve as the movie's executive producer. Rovio Entertainment will finance and produce the film.
"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."
Prior to his work at Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures, John Cohen served as VP of Production at Twentieth Century Fox Animation. There he worked on Ice Age, Robots, Ice Age: The Meltdown and Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who. He also helped re-imagine Alvin and the Chipmunks and developed the 2007 film.
Rovio is following in the footsteps of Marvel Entertainment which decided to produce and finance its own films outside the typical Hollywood production machine, a move "architected" by David Maisel. This production method will allow Rovio to retain full creative control over the Angry Birds project 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.
Will a Summer 2016 release date be too far out for Angry Birds? That's 3 1/2 years from now, and chances are fans of the franchise may have moved on to something else. If Rovio can keep Angry Birds innovative and fresh during all that time, then a CGI movie could possibly fly in movie theaters. But there's a possibility this cool idea will end up in the gaming movie graveyard along with deceased projects like Duke Nukem and maybe even World of Warcraft.
The original Angry Birds game made its debut on Apple's iOS platform back in December 2009. Since then, the franchise has exploded into a multi-billion dollar business, producing four additional releases, a spin-off game, books, T-shirts, slippers and other merchandise. Its current momentum should propel the franchise well into the summer of 2016, but consumer tastes could change over the next three years.