The original Angry Birds game launched back in 2009, and since then, the series has generated 3.3 billion app downloads. Now, six and a half years later, Rovio has released the first movie based off of the successful mobile game franchise. With $150 million generated worldwide, and the fact that in North America the movie sits at number one at the box office, it’s safe to say that the film is currently enjoying moderate success. However, there may be more to the story than meets the eye.
Production of the movie was about $73 million according to the LA Times, so when you compare those costs to the $150 million the movie made worldwide so far, one could say that the movie did exceptionally well. The Angry Birds Movie grossed $39 million in ticket sales in the US, and according to Variety, about $30 million in China. That made China the second largest contributor to the movie’s box office results behind the US. However, it’s not until you take a closer look at the movie’s marketing costs that its box office results begin to look a little less like a success.
A recent New York Times article explains that Rovio spent $100 million marketing The Angry Birds Movie, costs that are completely separate from the production costs. Sony also aided in marketing the movie, and in return they will be receiving 8 percent of all ticket sale money. The aforementioned LA Times article puts the value of the entire Angry Birds Movie marketing campaign at about $400 million. However, it's still unknown if this marketing campaign, as well as the movie itself, will boost sales of the actual Angry Birds games. It seems that Rovio is attempting to use the movie to spark more interest in the franchise. For example, during the credits, after the movie is over, you can snap a picture of a code that will unlock an exclusive level for the new game Angry Birds Action.
Although The Angry Birds Movie still has a ways to go before it makes back all of its production and marketing costs, it still did better than any other movie this weekend, at least in North America. The Angry Birds Movie was able to knock Captain America: Civil War down to second place in the North American box office. However, unlike Angry Birds, Civil War has made over a billion dollars worldwide at this point and was in its third week. I highly doubt that we’ll be seeing anything like that from Angry Birds.